Russia Over 1.5 team goals at 2.09 with Pinnacle - 1.5 units (min 1.91)
- The Slovaks are coming off an embarrassing 2-2 with the 5th worst-ranked nation in Europe (Malta)
- Before that they drew 0-0 with Cyprus (and lost the xG and shot count)
- Over the last calendar year, Slovakia have conceded 1.95xGA per 90 mins with an average of 14 shots against.
- What's concerning about that xGA is the fact that they've been playing a lot of poor/average teams (Malta, Cyprus, Czech's, Northern Ireland, Rep of Ireland, Scotland, Israel)
- The team that would come closest to Russia's level would be the Czech Rep; in their two games with their neighbours, they conceded five goals with 5.86xGA (lost both)
- Under current coach, Stefan Tarkovic Slovakia have recorded just one win over a team in the FIFA top 50, that came against Scotland.
- The Scotland result was a fluke (1-0 win, 0.24-1.33xG in Scotlands favour) and kind of a meaningless game for the Scottish; they were coming off a playoff win against Serbia.
- Slovakia's backline looks very weak to me. 35 year old Dušan Kuciak (Lechia Gdańsk) will start ahead of the injured/Ill Martin Dúbravka. He's conceded 3 goals off the last 7 shots he's faced at International level
- The backline will, of course, feature their standout player Milan Škriniar (doesn't excel at an International level) as well as Holúbek (Piast Gliwice), Koscelník (Slovan Liberec) and Martin Valjent (Mallorca).
- Russia are in a commanding position in Group H now after taking 6 points. However, they shouldn't take the foot off the pedal here with Croatia likely to turn things around after their disappointing start.
- Last time out against Slovenia, Russia ran out 2-1 winners generating 1.45xG. Slovenia are a lot more responsible defensively, so no shame in that xG score/result.
- Over the last calendar year, Russia have travelled to Malta, Serbia, Turkey, and Hungary; from those 4 games, they have averaged 2 goals per 90 and 2.08xG.
- In their last qualification campaign, they failed to score 2+ just once on the road, which came when they lost 3-1 to Belgium.
- There shouldn't be too many changes from the Slovenia game; some have suggested that Miranchuck could replace Golovin.
Final word: Slovakia are in decline, and I think Russia take full advantage of that here, I had considered playing Russia to win the game (1.9), but I think with their defensive issues, this represents better value.