Saturday, 11th June
England made the headlines for all the wrong reasons again as brawls between fans and tear gas in the streets around the old port were the pictures being beamed around the world.
On the pitch, Wayne Rooney became the ninth captain to lead England into a major tournament since Bobby Moore, in 1966.
Starting a tournament and winning the prize are, of course, oceans apart.
The first half wasn't without its chances, but England didn't have anything to show for all their possession at the end of forty-five minutes; apart from a clean sheet.
Half-time: England 0 - Russia 0
If letting no goals in is encouraging, scoring none is a worry.
Thinking about the great Ali, Russia looked as though they had been on the ropes for 65 minutes and then sprung into life to try and land a sucker punch, before the contest went the distance.
Twenty minutes from time, the highlight of the evening occurred when Wayne Rooney entered the Russian penalty area and forced Igor Akinfeev to hit the ground to save a shot, instead of punch the ball.
Three minutes later, the deadlock was broken. Eric Dier fired England ahead with a direct free-kick, after Harry Kane stepped over the ball.
England needed a second goal to top the group, but Russia had other ideas.
Deep into injury-time, Russian captain Vasili Berezutski, looking like the Eiffel Tower alongside Danny Rose, looped a header past Joe Hart; to finally put a smile Vladimir Putin's face.
Group B in Marseille.
Final Score: England 1 - Russia 1
1:0 (Eric Dier, 73)
1:1 (Vasili Berezutski, 90+2)
2-Kyle Walker, 5-Gary Cahill, 6-Chris Smalling, 3-Danny Rose;
10-Wayne Rooney, 17-Eric Dier, 20-Dele Alli;
8-Adam Lallana, 9-Harry Kane, 7-Raheem Sterling.
3-Igor Smolnikov, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 14-Vasili Berezutski, 21-Georgi Schennikov;
5-Roman Neustadter, 13-Aleksandr Golovin, 10-Fyodor Smolov, 17-Oleg Shatov;
9-Aleksandr Kokorin, 22-Artyom Dzyuba.