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Russia’s national football squad to play two friendlies in March — sports minister

January 19, 18:28 UTC+3 KOVROV
The friendly fixture between Russia and France will be held at the 80,000-seat Stade de France stadium in French Saint-Denis
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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

KOVROV /Vladimir Region/, January 19. /TASS/. Besides a scheduled friendly match with France in late March, the Russian national football team will play another friendly that month, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Tuesday.

"We have made a decision on the opponent for the second friendly match [in March]," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "We will name the opponent later."

The friendly fixture between Russia and France has been scheduled for March 29 and will be a part of Russia’s preparations for the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup. The match will be held at the 80,000-seat Stade de France stadium in French Saint-Denis.

The Russian national football squad also plans to play two more friendly matches in early June during the team’s abroad training sessions and the provisional dates are June 1 and 5.

The 2016 UEFA Euro Cup will be held in France between June 10 and July 10 with matches to be played in 10 different locations, namely in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.

A total of 24 European national teams qualified for the Euro Cup final tournament in 2016, after the contestants’ format, which was used since 1996, was decided to be extended from 16 to 24 teams.

The contesting teams were divided into six groups and Russia was placed into Group B, sharing it with the teams from England, Wales and Slovakia.

The Group B match between the national squads of Russia and England will be held at the Stade Velodrome in Marseilles on June 11 starting at 21:00 local time.

The Russian national team won the ticket for the championship in France almost at the very last moment.

Russia, which was in the third position of the qualifying Group G after defeat to Austria in mid-June, went on a winning streak in four remaining fixtures and finished the qualifiers for the major European tournament in the second place of the group earning a direct pass to the 2016 Euro Cup.

Following the defeat to Austria in mid-June the Russian national football team’s coaching staff saw a major overhaul. The previously Italian-dominated staff was dismissed along with former Head Coach Fabio Capello and Russia’s Leonid Slutsky was appointed in early August to take the helm of the team.

Slutsky managed to guide the national team to victories in all matches under his management starting with 1-0 victory over Sweden on September 5.

The new coach’s inaugural match against the Swedish squad followed with a crushing 7-0 victory over Liechtenstein three days later and then he took the team to victories over Moldova (2-1) on October 9 and Montenegro (2-0) on October 12.

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