MONACO, June 5 /TASS/. The Russian national football team will play a match against Serbia as part of preparations for the UEFA Euro 2016. The teams will meet at Louis II stadium in Monaco at 19:00 (Moscow time).
The Russians lost their first friendly against the Czechs (1-2) held in Innsbruck, Austria, last Wednesday. The game will be remembered for the non-standard attack of the Russian team: three forwards - Alexander Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and Fyodor Smolov - appeared on the field in the very first minutes of the match. The Russian team’s coach Leonid Slutsky said after the match that he might try to repeat that combination in future.
Germany's Soviet-born footballer Roman Neustaedter made a debut in the friendly against the Czech team. He received his Russian foreign passport last Monday.
Both Slutsky and the football players said after the defeat that the team was tired because it had trained twice a day all until May 30 in a bid to step up the training process.
The Russian national football team felt the absence of its midfielders, Roman Shirokov and Alan Dzagoyev, during the friendly match against the Czech Republic, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS earlier this week commenting the Russian team’s defeat.
"The result is disappointing but not alarming. I know that the boys were tired because they had trained with great physical exertion quite recently," Mutko said. "Any defeat is disappointing. However, we know that the team has a much greater potential. It is in the process of training. The absence of Dzagoyev and Shirokov was also felt," the Russian sports minister explained.
"It was a normal game, which took place as part of the training process. It was important for Slutsky [the coach] to see all the players in action what he did. The game was absolutely equal. At some moments, the Czechs were dominating but we seized the initiative," Mutko said.
Prior to the match against the Czech Republic, Slutsky had said he was not going to experiment with the players during the friendlies because there was too little time left to prepare for Euro-2016.
The UEFA Euro 2016 will take place in France from June 10 to July 10. The teams of England, Wales and Slovakia will be Russia’s chief rivals in Group B. The Serbian national team had failed to enter the Euro-2016 final stage. It is placed 4th in the qualifying group I. Other countries in the group included Portugal, Albania, Denmark and Armenia. The Serbs have stayed away from major tournaments since 2010 (since the World Cup in South Africa). The last time they played at the Euro championships was in 2000 where they appeared as the national team of Yugoslavia.
Slavoljub Muslin is the team’s head coach. He worked in Russia for five seasons. In 2006, he coached Lokomotiv (Moscow); Khimki (the Moscow region) - from 2007 to 2008; Krasnodar - 2011-2013; Amkar (Perm) in 2014. Under Muslin’s guidance, the Serbs defeated Cyprus in a friendly match on May 25 and the team of Israel in the second friendly (3:1) on May 31.
The stars of the Serbian national team play in Britain. Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic play for Chelsey; Aleksandar Kolarov - for Manchester City.
Russian football players arrived in Monaco on Saturday evening. The team is staying in a five-star hotel in the direct vicinity of the famous Monte Carlo casino. The Russian football team is going to play its first match in Monaco. Out of the states (including those which are partly located in Europe) and territories whose federations are UEFA members, the Russian team has not played, apart from Monaco, in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Gibraltar (UEFA member); Kazakhstan, Kosovo (UEFA member); Lithuania and naturally the Vatican.
The national teams of Russia and Serbia (Yugoslavia) have played 10 matches against each other. The Russian football team has won four times; the Serbs have scored one victory. The teams have drawn five matches. The Russian and Serbian teams met each other last in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) in November 2013. They tied the game in a friendly match (1:1).
After the match against the Serbs, the Russian football team will head for Croissy-sur-Seine, a Paris suburb, where it will continue training for the UEFA EURO-2016. The Russians will stay in a hotel in the town of Rueil-Malmaison. The Russian football team will play three matches in the Euro-2016 group stage: vs. the team of England in Marseille June 11; vs. Slovakia in Lille on June 15 and vs. Wales in Toulouse on June 20.