Now we move on to Group B of Euro 2016, With Wales due to Kick off Group B against Slovakia on Saturday 11th June at 17.00 GMT broadcast live on ITV - here is the list of teams that have been drawn from the 4 qualifying spots into this tricky looking group, as well as their FIFA World Ranking.
Looking at the rankings, this looks like a very even group with England being slight favourites, this will be very hard to predict but as always we will arm you with the relevant information to make an educated decision.
You should know these guys; they made light work of qualifying and recently overcame a 2-0 deficit in a friendly against Germany in Berlin to win 3-2. They have a good young team that has gotten people quite excited about their Euro 2016 prospects, however, England have not a won an International tournament since 1966 which is always a concern.How Did They Qualify and from Which Group?
England are the only team to qualify for Euro 2016 with a 100% winning record in the qualifiers, that is some feat however, some would argue that the group was not particularly hard with San Marino, Slovenia and Lithuania in there and it's hard to disagree. Though they did beat Switzerland home and away too which is impressive.
There is also the argument that you can only beat what is put in front of you, and England certainly did that ending Group E in the 1st automatic qualifying spot on 30 points.Top Goalscorer in Qualifying
Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck both contributed 7 goals each in qualifying and both are expected to be in the starting 11 v Russia on June 11th, so there are goals in this team. Mix that with Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane's goals in the Premier League this season (41 combined) and there is a lot of attacking talent on show.Style of Play and Manager
Now, this could cause some debate. England have been known for their physical style of play, however, in recent years the FA has tried to change the way English players are trained at Grassroots level and want to concentrate on being a more possession based team.
England do have physical players like they've always had such as Dele Alli, Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling, however, they do try to keep possession when they can. Expect pace, power and a few hard tackles being thrown in.
Their manager is of course Roy Hodgson or WOY! Former Switzerland and Inter Milan manager Hodgson has a lot of International and club level experience, however in the last World Cup, England - managed by Hodgson did not even make it out of the group stages and he has been criticised for being too cautious in the past.Record in Previous European Championships
Well - England have never won the European Championships and the closest they have ever come is 3rd place in 1968. Their record in the Euro's is pretty dire having failed at the Group Stage numerous times and not even qualifying for Euro 2008 with Steve 'Wolly with a Brolly' McClaren in charge.Group Final Standing Prediction : 1st
Despite England's poor displays in recent International tournaments I fully expect them to top this group, yes it is evenly matched and there are some good teams with great players but with the attacking talent available to them and the hungry young players coming through, particularly from Tottenham Hotspur such as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Eric Dier, England should have the quality to qualify in 1st place.
Had manager Fabio Capello not been sacked mid-way through qualifying, this would have been an interesting encounter between old and current England managers, however as it stands he was sacked and Leonid Slutsky took over. Russia are dangerous and will be hoping to improve on a terrible World Cup 2 years ago.How did they Qualify and from which Group?
Russia qualified automatically in 2nd place in Group G behind Austria and were 8 points off the pace so they didn't exactly challenge for 1st. They did however, finish above Zlatan's Sweden despite a disastrous and embarrassing 1-1 draw against Moldova at home. Considering they changed manager half way through as well, they have done well to qualify in first place and did end their qualifying campaign very well under Slutsky.
There was also a forfeited match against Montenegro, however that gained them 3 points and even then Russia only finished 2 points in front of Sweden so they are considered quite lucky.Top Goalscorer in Qualifying
Russia's top goalscorer in the qualifiers was a striker named Artem Dzyuba; he was actually the 4th highest scorer in the qualifiers too with 8 goals. We discussed his chances of winning the Golden Boot in the Top Goalscorer Tips article and he will be a potent threat for the Russians throughout the tournament.Style of Play and Manager
Russia have a very experienced defence with the Berezutski brothers Alexei and Vasili providing a very capable service. They have 4 defenders in the squad over the age of 32 and two 29 year olds. So they are going to look solid. They also have fast full backs in Schennikov and Smolnikov to cover should the old guys be a bit slow.
They like to put crosses into the box and have plenty of capable wingers in their squad as well as forwards who know how to get on the end of them. They also have Alan Dzagoev who was a joint Golden Boot Winner in Euro 2012.
Leonid Slutsky shares the Russia job with his manager role at CSKA Moscow. It is his second stint as manager of Russia and he has lots of experience. Russia looked much better during the qualifiers after he took over and lifted them over the line.Record in Previous European Championships
Russia have only been going as they are since 1996 as before then they were the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Union they had a lot of success in the 60s and 70s, reaching 4 Euro finals and winning 1 in 1960. Since the Soviet Union disbanded and the Russian national team was formed, they have struggled to emulate this success with a semi-final in Euro 2008 the outstanding achievement amongst a sea of Group Stage eliminations.Group Final Standing Prediction : 3rd
Russia will add another Group Stage elimination to their record we fear. It is basically the battle for 2nd place which I think, if Gareth Bale stays fit, will only just go to Wales. Russia have a cracking chance of being one of the 'best losers' and could still go through but Bale has dragged Wales to the Euros and I can see that fairy tale continuing.
Until 1993, Slovakia and Czech Republic were the same team under the name Czechoslovakia. Since their formation they have not had a lot of success on the football field, however, with a few quality players dotted around their squad they have managed to climb to 32 in the world rankings.How did they Qualify and from Which Group?
Slovakia qualified automatically out of Group C which contained Spain and Ukraine! It also had Belarus, Luxembourg and Macedonia - but they should be beating them anyway. Beating Ukraine (who qualified through a playoff) to automatic qualification is very impressive and to add to their successes, they were the only team to beat Spain in the whole of the qualifying rounds.Top Goalscorer in Qualifying
Our highlighting of Hamsik is justified by the fact that he was Slovakia's top goal scorer in qualifying with 5 goals from midfield. If he and former Manchester City youth player Vladimir Weiss (6 assists) can link up as well as they did in their qualifying group then they could shock a couple of teams.Style of Play and Manager
Slovakia have a brilliant defence and don't concede a lot of goals, they probably aren't going to smash teams 3-0 but 2-1 and 1-0 are very likely results for them, if they can produce the same sort of form in the finals. Their starting back four all play in top European leagues including Liverpool's Martin Skrtel and Roma's Norbert Gyomber. The only issue is going to be up front where they do not have any prolific strikers, they do have an excellent attacking midfielder in Marek Hamsik, who plies his trade in Italy for Napoli. I imagine he will be focal point of everything they do going forward.
Slovakia are managed by a native in Jan Kozak who played for them as Czechoslovakia 55 times scoring 9 goals and has been a manager since 1993, however he has only managed in the Slovakian league so he does not have experience of big matches against top quality players. He does however have a 58% win percentage since he took the Slovakia job so he is very popular with the public.Record in Previous European Championships
As Slovakia, they have never qualified for a European Championship Finals before so they will definitely want to make this as memorable as possible.Group Final Standing Prediction : 4th
I fear that this will be a step too far for Slovakia especially with the quality of the other teams in the group. They could take a couple of points to make things interesting but I can't see them going through from this group despite the potential heroics from Hamsik and the defensive solidarity.
Another of the Home Nations to qualify for Euro 2016, this is Wales' first International tournament since 1958! Wales have struggled on the International scene for a long time, even with players such as Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs and John Hartson; they have never managed to qualify for another International tournament until now. The revival started with Gary Speed taking over as manager and introducing an entertaining but hard working side, this was then continued by Chris Coleman after Speed's unfortunate passing.How did they Qualify and from Which Group?
Wales qualified automatically through a 2nd placed finish in Group B behind the team ranked 2nd in the FIFA World Rankings Belgium. They had a very good qualifying campaign spearheaded by their golden boy, Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale. Wales only lost 1 game throughout the whole qualifying round against Bosnia and Herzegovina and even took 4 points in the 2 games against Belgium. They also maintained an unbeaten record at home.Top Goalscorer in Qualifying
Gareth Bale scored 7 goals in 10 qualifying games and I think Wales fans would admit that he has been a terrific talisman. He scored and created goals at vital times during the campaign and he is now reaping the rewards of this. If Wales are to progress from this group, this man will have to score more goals.Style of Play and Manager
Wales play very quick, counter attacking football. They know the strengths of Gareth Bale which include pace; power, shooting and dribbling and they use this to full effect. Bale is one of the best players in the world but they also have a brilliant spine with Aaron Ramsey in centre midfield and a rock in Swansea defender Ashley Williams at centre back. This gives Bale a free role to wreak havoc on the opposition defence.
Chris Coleman has been the manager since the tragic death of former manager Gary Speed. Coleman has managed to channel and keep the energy and attitude that was first instilled into the players by Speed and added a steely defence to boot.Record in Previous European Championships
Wales have never qualified for the European Championship finals but they did get to the quarter finals in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. A lot has happened since then though and people will be wondering how far Wales can go.Group Final Standing Prediction : 2nd
People may disagree with this, but I just think that Wales will pip Russia to the post for 2nd place and get to the knockout phase. Gareth Bale has already shown his quality and their performances against Belgium in the qualifiers have shown that they can step up to the plate. We're backing Wales to steal 2nd - just.
The winner of this group will play the 'best loser' from Group A, C or D so it would set England up brilliantly to get to at least the quarter-finals unless there is a disaster for a big team in one of those groups. We think England could feasibly reach at least the quarter-finals, maybe even semi.
As far as Wales are concerned they would play the runner up of Portugal and Iceland's group (Group F), how far could Wales go? I would be surprised if they reached the quarter-finals.