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World Cup scouting spotlight: Wague, Bentancur, Fernandes

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Russia faces up to its future

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Euro 2016 team preview: Russia must turn potential into performances

Group B: England | Russia | Wales | Slovakia

Russia's track record of falling short on the big stage tempers any optimism. The team's semifinal appearance at Euro 2008 was its only journey past the group stage of a European Championship, and while they will be expected to reach the Round of 16, few will hold significant hope for further progress.

How they qualified: Second in Group G

Russia finished a distant eight points behind Austria and two in front of third-placed Sweden. They lost twice to the Austrians, but taking four points from the Swedes proved decisive.

How they'll proceed:

It is entirely plausible that Russia will come through the group stage, but it will be rather more difficult for them to make a run into the latter stages of the tournament, despite their improvement under Leonid Slutsky.

TBD by Editor
Russia will compete in the European Championship for the fifth time.

Predicted lineup:

(4-2-3-1); GK: Igor Akinfeev; DF: Igor Smolnikov, Sergei Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutski, Dmitri Kombarov; MF: Igor Denisov, Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Kokorin, Roman Shirokov, Oleg Shatov; FW: Artyom Dzyuba.

Key player: Roman Shirokov

Russia's captain is 34 but remains a huge influence in midfield. He is now with CSKA Moscow after a frustrating spell with Spartak that saw him sidelined due to a contractual issue. His fitness will be crucial to a side that missed him badly at the 2014 World Cup.

Manager: Leonid Slutsky

He took over from Fabio Capello in August, when Russia sat third in their qualifying group and were in danger of missing out on Euro 2016. The two-time Russian Premier League winner with CSKA Moscow guided the team to five consecutive wins between September and November.

Schedule:

June 11 vs. England (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
-- LIVE on ESPN

June 15 vs. Slovakia (9 a.m. ET/1 p.m. GMT; Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
-- LIVE on ESPN

June 20 vs. Wales (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse)
-- LIVE on ESPN2

Games are also LIVE on ESPN Deportes, ESPN FC, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

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