Leonid Slutsky is set to leave his position as head coach of Russia after their dismal Euro 2016 campaign ended with a miserable 3-0 defeat to surprise Group B winners Wales on Monday night (20 June). The 45-year-old, who has combined his national duties with a club role as manager of domestic champions CSKA Moscow since August 2015, watched on in frustration as his oft-criticised team produced one of the worst performances of the tournament and were deservedly thrashed in Toulouse.
They went behind after 11 minutes at the Stadium Municipal when Aaron Ramsey collected a gorgeous threaded pass from Joe Allen and proceeded to chip the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Swansea City left-back Neil Taylor netted his first goal for his country and a first in any competition since 2010 to double the advantage shortly afterwards, while abject Russia's humiliation was completed in the second half when Gareth Bale took his tally for the competition to three strikes in as many games.
Slutsky, initially appointed as successor to Fabio Capello on a short-term contract, struggled to contain his anger on the sidelines in the knowledge that anything other than a victory would see the 2008 semi-finalists exit at the first hurdle for the second European Championship in succession.
They drew their opening clash with England after a last-gasp header from Vasili Berezutski cancelled out Eric Dier's thumping free-kick and subsequently slumped to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Slovakia despite another late effort from Denis Glushakov. That latter contest was lit up courtesy of a scintillating strike from Marek Hamsik.
"I would like to apologise to the Russian supporters for our performances, the fans in the stadium and watching at home on TV, they did not deserve this," Russia's outgoing boss was quoted as saying by The Independent in his post-match press conference. "I take responsibility. I had enough time to find players. If we did not succeed it is truly my mistake. Someone else should take over with a big championship to come."
He added: "We still qualified so this could ultimately prove to be a positive experience. The players will still play in 2018 and we will try and take the positives from this experience."
2018 World Cup hosts Russia's wretched Euro 2016 campaign will undoubtedly be remembered for sorry events off the pitch, where they were hit with a suspended disqualification and a €150,000 (£115,252, $170,135) fine following the shocking scenes of hooliganism that marred their aforementioned tie with England in Marseille.