England versus Russia statistical analysis
England breezed through Euro 2016 qualification but they will face a much stiffer test in their Group B opener against Russia. In a group that contains both Slovakia and Wales, a draw might not be seen as a bad result by either side so it could well turn into a cagey affair.
This assumption is certainly backed up by some of the qualifying stats and it is difficult to split the sides in a number of key areas, as illustrated in the Oulala infographic below.
Both sides tended to monopolise the ball in qualification but that was often down to the quality of the opposing sides, rather than either side being real advocates of a possession-based football approach.
We can expect a fairly equal distribution tonight and both nations have good disciplinary records so there shouldn’t be too many concerns about your fantasy football selections picking up needless cards.
If there is one area that England might edge it in, though, it’s the offensive zone where the Three Lions have, not only a superior goal difference but also a willingness to get more shots away. If one player is to make the difference it could well be English Premier League Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, Roy Hodgson’s surprise choice for free-kicks and corners. The Spurs striker is as prolific as anyone else on show so if the game is to be decided by a small margin, he could be the man to make the decisive contribution.
It promises to be an intriguing encounter at the Stade Veledrome in Marseille but don’t rule the stalemate!