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Group A may not contain the heavyweights of European football but there is value to be found. Adam Bate is backing Dick Advocaat's men to win it with the co-hosts not far behind

It’s been labelled the weakest group at this summer’s European Championship but just because none of the tournament favourites feature does not mean these teams are all similar.

Russia, for example, were semi-finalists four years ago and come into Euro 2012 on the back of a 14-game unbeaten run, culminating in a 3-0 victory over Italy last week.

Dick Advocaat is blessed with a plethora of attacking midfield options and can rotate strikers Alexander Kerzhakov, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak in the search for goals.

Russia are 4/9 (1.44) favourites to qualify from Group A but the real value is in backing Andrei Arshavin & Co to win the group at a well-priced 6/4 (2.5) with Bet365.

Part of the reason for tipping Russia is that they begin against a Czech Republic side that is struggling to find its feet under Michal Bilek.

Milan Baros clings on upfront but the stars of yesteryear have departed and this is a functional Czech side in danger of failing to give a decent account of themselves, even in Group A.

The Czechs are 5/4 (2.25) to make the knockouts and 4/1 (5.0) with Bet365 to make me eat my words and win the group.

Greece are the same price of 4/1 (5.0) to win the group and even longer odds to qualify at 6/4 (2.5). That is slightly more intriguing given that Fernando Santos’ side went unbeaten through qualifying.

Although Santos has made noises about playing a more expansive game than his predecessor Otto Rehhagel, who led Greece to victory in this tournament in 2004, do not be fooled.

This side is founded on the same principles and will focus on avoiding defeat first and foremost. But that is unlikely to be enough against co-hosts Poland.

There is almost an unwillingness to get carried away among the Polish public and they are talking this young team down, but there is a good mix of quality and grafters.

There are three key members of Dortmund’s double-winning side in the ranks, along with Ludovic Obraniak who achieved the same feat with Lille in 2011, and Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny.

Poland haven’t conceded a goal in 2012 and you certainly would not back Greece to be the ones to change that in the opening game with their style of football.

While the 5/2 (3.5) to back Poland to top the group may be a step too far, the 8/11 (1.73) for the co-hosts to get what they need against the Czech Republic in the final game and qualify for the quarter-finals is the best bet here and is well worth an investment, especially considering host nations often over perform at major tournaments.

Group A
Poland to qualify at 8/11  (1.73) with Bet365
Russia to win the group at 6/4 (2.5) with Bet365

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on

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