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Russia and Slovakia ready for Lille contest

There has been little between Russia and Slovakia since the pair started competing as independent countries, Russia edging their most recent meeting in 2014.

Background: Russia v Slovakia ©Getty Images

Competitive meetings between Russia and Slovakia have been very even as the teams prepare to renew acquaintances in Lille in the second round of UEFA EURO 2016 Group B games.

Previous meetings
• The nations met in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, each losing 1-0 at home.

Miroslav Stoch was on target for Slovakia in Moscow on 7 September 2010, when the teams were:
Russia: Akinfeev, Anyukov, V Berezutski, Ignashevich (Bilyaletdinov 81), Zhirkov, Semshov (Bystrov 61), Shirokov, Zyryanov, Arshavin, Pogrebnyak (Pavlyuchenko 71), Dzagoev.
Slovakia: Mucha, Škrtel, Hubočan, Zabavník, Karhan (Sapara 73), Štrba, Stoch (Pečalka 90+2), Hološko, Saláta, Hamšík, Kucka (Jendrišek 58).

• On 7 October 2011, Alan Dzagoev scored Russia's winner in Zilina. The sides were:
Slovakia: Mucha, Pekarík, Škrtel, Ďurica, Karhan (Šebo 86), Stoch, Hološko (Guédé 73), Hubočan, Hamšík, Jendrišek, Kucka (Weiss 73).
Russia: Malafeev, Anyukov, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Zhirkov (A Berezutski 90+4), Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov, Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko (Pogrebnyak 87), Dzagoev (Samedov 90+3).

Russia's five best qualifying goals

• There had been nothing to choose between the teams either in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a 1-1 draw in Moscow followed by a goalless stalemate in Bratislava. 

• Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal in the most recent encounter – a St Petersburg friendly in May 2014.

• The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia both defeated each other en route to claiming their respective European titles. The USSR were 3-0 winners against Czechoslovakia at Marseille's Stade Vélodrome in the 1960 semi-finals; Czechoslovakia were 4-2 aggregate victors in the 1976 quarter-finals (2-0 home, 2-2 away).

EURO facts – Russia
• This is Russia's fourth successive EURO final tournament and fifth in six as an independent nation. They have featured in seven of the last eight EUROs, including this edition, appearing as the Soviet Union in 1988 and the Commonwealth of Independent States four years later, before their debut as Russia in 1996.

Slovakia's EURO star: Marek Hamsik

• The Soviet Union won the first UEFA European Championship in 1960, and finished as runners-up in 1964, 1972 and 1988. Russia's best performance since the dissolution of the Soviet Union came in 2008, when they reached the semi-finals. 

EURO facts – Slovakia
• While Slovakia have never before competed in a UEFA European Championship final tournament as an independent nation, as part of Czechoslovakia they appeared in three four-team finals.

• Czechoslovakia finished third in 1960 and 1980 and lifted the trophy in 1976. Eight of the 11 players who started the final against West Germany – and triumphed on penalties after a 2-2 draw – hailed from Slovakia.

• Slovakia reached the 2016 finals thanks mainly to wins in their first six Group C qualifiers, a run that included a 2-1 home triumph against Spain – the holders' first qualifying defeat in 36 matches and nine years.

Coach and player links
• Have played in Russia:
Ján Mucha: Krylya Sovetov Samara (2013–15), Arsenal Tula (2014/15)
Kornel Saláta: Rostov (2011–2013), Tom Tomsk (2013/14)
Ján Ďurica: Saturn Moscow Oblast (2006–08), Lokomotiv Moskva (2009–)
Martin Škrtel: Zenit (2004–08)
Tomáš Hubočan: Zenit (2008–14), Dinamo Moskva (2014–)

• Have played together:
Ján Ďurica (Slovakia) & Roman Shishkin and Aleksandr Samedov (Russia) – Lokomotiv Moskva, 2009–

Tomáš Hubočan (Slovakia) & Aleksandr Kokorin (Russia) – Dinamo Moskva, 2014–

Kornel Saláta (Slovakia) and Artem Dzyuba (Russia) – Rostov, 2013–14

• Former Slovakia coach Vladimír Weiss was in charge of Russian club Saturn Moscow Oblast in 2006/07.

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