Euro 2016 Qualifying Preview: Slovakia v. Spain headlines

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On Thursday, 18 national teams across Europe will kick-off the second round of qualifying matches for Euro 2016 in France.

Thursday’s fixture list is headlined by the Group C clash between Slovakia and Spain. Coming off an impressive 1-0 victory over Ukraine in MatchDay 1, Slovakia will hope the home crowd gives them a boost but if history has it’s say, conquering Spain could prove quite difficult. The Slovaks have not won in their last three competitive home matches while Spain have won their last 14 qualifying away games.

Another interesting matchup sees Sweden host Russia at the Friends Arena in Solna. Sweden enter the match coming off a compelling 1-1 draw with Austria and will look to gain a hold on Group G with a victory over the Russians. The last time these two sides met was Euro 2008 when Russia coasted to a 2-0 win behind goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrey Arshavin that sent Sweden home.  The hosts will look to make amends this time out but they may be forced to do so without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will be a game-time decision due to injury.

A third matchup to watch is the Group E clash between England and San Marino at Wembley. The Three Lions enjoyed a solid win in MatchDay 1 taking out Switzerland 2-0, while La Serenissima fell to Lithuania 2-0. England will no doubt romp their opponents but it will be compelling to see the side Roy Hodgson chooses to field and how long a San Marino team of furniture workers, lawyers and ceramic shop workers can hold off the onslaught.

Other matches on Thursday include:

Belarus v. Ukraine
Macedonia v. Luxembourg
Lithuania v. Estonia
Slovenia v. Switzerland
Liechtenstein v. Montenegro
Moldova v. Austria