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Russia v Wales: Williams desperate to bounce back

Wales defender Ashley Williams is desperate to bounce back in his side’s final Group B game against Russia after their defeat at the hands of England on matchday two.

Chris Coleman’s men started the tournament on a high when they beat Slovakia 2-1 and appeared to be on their way to the knockout stages when they went a goal up in Lens through Gareth Bale.

However, they were eventually beaten 2-1 following Daniel Sturridge’s stoppage-time winner and now need a positive result against Russia to progress.

Williams remains optimistic about Wales’ chances, though, with just a point separating the top three in the group after two matches.

“If you had offered this situation at the start of the tournament, three points from two games, we would have taken it,” Williams said.

“You cannot ask for more than it being in your own hands. You need to stay level because beating Slovakia did not put us in the next round, and losing to England does not mean we are out. We have already spoken about what we need to do; we will not get too down, as much as the loss did hurt.

“After we beat Slovakia we knew it was not the time to get too high because we had not accomplished anything yet and now is not the time to be getting down on ourselves. We spoke before the tournament kicked off about how to respond if we had a disappointment. 

“The work we put in means we should not be too hard on ourselves. We have done ever so well to get here and we have done well in this tournament in a tough group. So let’s stick together and move on.”

Russia, meanwhile, were shocked 2-1 by Slovakia on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw versus England in their opening game.

Leonid Slutsky’s men sit fourth in their section with just one point, though qualification for the last 16 remains a firm possibility.

A win versus Wales would see them through if England beat Slovakia and Denis Glushakov has urged his team-mates to move on from their surprise defeat on matchday two.

“There is no point talking about how we started and how we finished against Slovakia,” the midfielder, who scored his side’s consolation goal on matchday two, told the official UEFA website.

“We lost our last game, but I think we will have another good chance when we play against Wales.

“We should regain our high spirits and get back to where we were. We need to move forward and give it 100 per cent, or even 200 per cent, and then we will get a result.”

Key Opta facts:

– Russia have won each of the last three meetings with Wales, outscoring  them by six goals to two in that run.
– Gareth Bale has scored two goals from direct free-kicks in his first two games, only Michel Platini (1984) and Thomas Haessler (1992) have scored as many at the Euros since 1980.
– Russia’s last three goals at the Euros have all been headers.
– Wales have reached the knockout stages in their only previous major  tournament participation, back in the 1958 World Cup.
– Russia have qualified for the knockout stages of the Euros only once in their four participations since the breakup of the USSR.

Sat 18 Jun, 2016
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