As Euro 2012 finally gets up and running, Adam Bate runs the rule over the Group A games on the opening day - and sees a nice profit in backing winners in both matches
Co-hosts Poland kick us off in Warsaw against the 2004 champions Greece and they have every reason to believe they can open up with three points.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda overcame a dismal spell in 2010, during which the team went eight games without a win, only to emerge as a better side for the experience.
This young team have come of age in 2012 and haven’t conceded a goal in their last five matches.
With a top-class keeper in Wojciech Szczesny and a dangerous target man in the shape of Robert Lewandowski, this is a side with quality at both ends of the field.
Greece, on the other hand, could be slightly overrated here. They were unbeaten in qualifying but only thanks to late heroics – at the hour mark they were behind three times and winning just once.
If they start slowly against Poland and give the home team a lead to hold onto, there will be no coming back.
Poland are Evens (2.0) with Paddy Power to win this one.
In the evening kick-off, Russia take on the Czech Republic in Wroclaw.
The Czechs have good pedigree in this tournament and came close to winning in both 1996 and 2004. But the simple truth is that this team is not in the same class.
The build-up has been unimpressive with Michal Bilek’s men needing a last-minute goal to sneak past Israel before losing at home to Hungary in their final warm-up game last week.
Russia on the other hand signed off with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Italy to serve notice of the threat they can be at this tournament.
Semi-finalists four years ago, Russia have quality in midfield in the shape of Roman Shirokov, Andrei Arshavin and the gifted Alan Dzagoev, while Alexander Kerzhakov is an under-rated goalscorer. Adding these selections together returns a tempting 16/5 (4.20) with Paddy Power and could be a fantastic boost for the betting bankroll on day one.
Expect Dick Advocaat’s men to see of the turgid Czechs at a chunkily-priced 11/10 (2.1) with Paddy Power.
The double on Poland on Russia pays at 16/5 (4.2) with Paddy Power.
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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 Twitter
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