Our prediction for this Euro 2020 match:
Neo GSP stadium in Nicosia will host Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between Cyprus and Russia. Cyprus came from behind to beat Kazakhstan on the road in their last qualifying game, with the team cementing third position in Group I. The Cypriotes failed to book their place at the next year’s showpiece tournament, but their performances in the qualifiers have been anything but poor.
The hosts aim to give fans yet another reason for celebration, but the game against Russia will be anything but a walk in the park for Ran Ben Shimon’s troops. The Russians proved their worth in a 4-0 win over Scotland and they will be looking to put icing on the cake on a very successful qualifying campaign with a victory over Cyprus. When the two teams met at Stadion Nizhny Novgorod earlier in the process Russia recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Cyprus, which is yet another reason why away win should be considered.
Highlighted Player (Georgios Efrem):
Born in Limassol, Cyprus on 5 July, 1989 Georgios Efrem played for his hometown club Apollon Limassol during his youth career, but in 2004 he joined Premier League club Arsenal at the age of 15. In 2007 he moved to Rangers, but he didn’t see any game action with the Gers at senior level.
The pacey winger, who is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well, returned to Cyprus in 2009, signing a deal with Omonia. After scoring 25 goals in 134 league appearances for the club, the 171-cm-tall footballer joined fellow Cypriot outfit APOEL on 6 June, 2014. Efrem made his debut for the club against Helsinki on 30 July, 2014 in the Europa League qualifying match.
It has to be noted that he was named the best player of the 2015/2016 Cypriot First Division campaign. The APOEL winger made his Cyprus debut on 3 March, 2010 in a goalless draw with Iceland. Four years later he scored his first ever hat-trick for the Cypriot national team in a 5-0 triumph over Andorra.
Highlighted Team (Russia):
While they won the 1960 European Championship, while losing in the final in 1964, 1972 and 1988 as Soviet Union, Russia have enjoyed little success since starting to compete as an independent country in 1992.
Their best result up to date is the third-placed finish at the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, while the team failed to get past the group stage at the World Cup finals in three attempts. However, with Russian Premier League getting stronger by the day, the national team have started to improve as well, and they now finally seem capable of matching the world’s top sides.
The new generation includes high-quality footballers such as Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and Oleg Shatov, while the likes of Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Shirokov and Yuri Zhirkov are nearing the closing stages of their careers. But, with plenty of exciting talent coming through the ranks, future definitely looks bright for the Russia national team.