Zenit St. Petersburg goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev has been chosen by Dick Advocaat to begin Russia's Euro 2012 campaign between the posts, as he is preferred to CSKA Moscow man Igor Akinfeev against the Czech Republic.
Malafeev, 33, endured personal tragedy in 2011 when his wife perished in a car crash, but he continued in professional football and has been in fantastic form for both Zenit and Russia. Akinfeev boasts over 50 caps for his nation, but resumed playing just six weeks ago after rupturing his cruciate ligaments. Advocaat lines his men up in an attacking 4-3-3 scheme, with Andrei Arshavin, Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Kherzakov providing plenty of firepower.
For the Czechs, meanwhile, Theodor Gebre Selasse starts on the right hand side of defence to win his 11th cap. The 25-year-old was born to a Czech mother and Ethiopian father, and became the first black player to represent the nation when he made his debut against Peru in 2011. Michal Bilek starts Euro 2012 with a 4-2-3-1 formation, led by veteran Galatasaray forward Milan Baros who makes his 90th international appearance.
Russia (4-3-3): Malafeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Berezutski; Shirokov, Denisov, Zyranov; Dazgoev, Kerzhakov, Arshavin.
Substitutes: Akinfeev, Shunin, Sharonov, Granat, Nababkin, Izmailov, Kombarov, Kokorin.
Czech Republic (4-2-3-1): Cech, Gebre Selassie, Kadlec, Hubnik, Sivok; Rezek, Rosicky; Plasil, Pilar, Jiracek; Baros.
Substitutes: Lastuvka, Drobny, suchy, Limbersky, Rajtoral, Petrzela, Hubschman, Kolar.