Russian captain Vasili Berezutski scored a late equaliser to give Russia a point against England ©Getty Images

Vasili Berezutski struck deep into added time to give Russia a 1-1 draw in their opening Group B match against England at the 2016 UEFA European Championships at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

The pre-match build-up to the encounter had been marred by violent clashes in the French city, between both sets of supporters as well as French police, with UEFA condemning the incidents.

Violence then marred the end of the game with Russian fans appearing to storm a section of English support.

On the pitch, the English team proved the brighter side in the opening half of the match with captain Wayne Rooney, operating in a central midfield role, and Adam Lallana both firing straight at Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

An improved start to the second half nearly came to nothing for the Russian side when Rooney fired towards the bottom corner of their goal, only for Akinfeev to produce a stunning save to turn onto the crossbar to keep the scores level.

Eventually England’s impressive display was rewarded from an unlikely source, when defensive midfielder Eric Dier sent a 20-yard free kick into the top corner of the net with 73 minutes of the match played.

It looked enough to ensure England a first victory in the opening match of the European Championships in their history, but Russia continued to provide a threat, with their late pressure eventually telling.

After England had seemingly cleared a late corner, Igor Smolnikov launched a cross into the box, with defender Berezutski guiding a looping header beyond goalkeeper Joe Hart to level the scoreline.

The result saw England and Russia claim a point from their opening match in Group B to lie behind Wales in the standings, after they marked their first ever European Championship game in the expanded 24-team competition by overcoming Slovakia.

Hal Robson-Kanu scored the winner as Wales overcame Slovakia 2-1 in Group B
Hal Robson-Kanu scored the winner as Wales overcame Slovakia 2-1 in Group B ©Getty Images

Slovakia had provided the best moments in the first minutes of the clash, with Marek Hamsik dancing past two challenges before seeing his goal-bound effort superbly cleared off the Welsh goal line by a recovering Ben Davies.

Davies’ intervention looked even more crucial when the Welsh talisman Gareth Bale, who recently won the Champions League with his club side Real Madrid, fired his team into the lead with a long-range free-kick after 10 minutes.

The Wales lead lasted until the 61st minute of the contest when substitute Ondrej Duda scored 52 seconds after coming on to draw Slovakia level.

Another substitute, Haul Robson-Kanu, found the net with a scuffed effort eight minutes from time to restore Wales' lead, but they were left thankful when Adam Nemec could only strike the post with a late header as Slovakia eventually fell to a 2-1 loss.

Hosts France, late winners against Romania yesterday, now have company at the top of Group A after Fabian Schar’s fifth minute header saw Switzerland edge to a 1-0 win over tournament debutantes Albania.

The Albanian team will leave the contest ruing several missed chances which were saved by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

They dominated for large stages with only 10-men after their captain Lorik Cana was sent-off for two yellow cards in the first half.