MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Russia’s national football team, which has qualified for the UEFA Euro-2016 event, will play friendlies with the Lithuanian, Czech and Serbian squads before the start of the European football championship, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday.
As part of its preparations for the Euro-2016 championship, the Russian national football squad will play a friendly with Lithuania at the Otkritie-Arena in Moscow on March 26 and friendlies with the Czech and Serbian teams on June 1 and 5, respectively, Mutko said in an interview with Russia’s sports channel Match TV.
It was earlier reported that Russia would play a guest match with host France on March 29.
"We have clarified the situation with all the opponents. As you know, we’ll play a game with the French squad in March. Before that, we’ll play a friendly with Lithuania at the Otkritie-Arena on March 26. And we’ll also hold friendlies with the Czech and Serbian squads on June 1 and 5. Details will appear tomorrow," the Russian sports minister said.
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.