Group A is on a knife-edge. Any team could still qualify, any team could still miss out. Adam Bate thinks Jakub Blaszczykowski and Andrey Arshavin will be the captains celebratingGroup A is intriguingly poised in the sense all four teams know that qualification remains in their own hands.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re Polish, Czech, Russian or Greek – if your team wins, you’re in the quarter-finals.
But some teams are better placed than others. Russia know that they will qualify if they avoid defeat against Greece and can even make it with a defeat if the other group game is drawn. For their Greek opponents, the equation is somewhat simpler – win or go home.
That clarity could help Fernando Santos’s side as they have seemed uncertain of themselves in their first two games. The key will be cutting out those slow starts.
Greece were leading just twice at the interval in qualifying and that poor first-half form has continued into the tournament, going in behind against Poland and the Czechs.
Expect a more positive performance but, unfortunately for them, Dick Advocaat’s men are set up to cause damage on the break and their superior quality should tell.
Even though Russia only need a draw, with Greece needing to chase the game late on if the scores are level, back the current group leaders to take advantage at the other end and grab a winner.
Russia to win at 8/11 (1.73) with William Hill
The other match is far closer to call. Poland certainly dealt with the threat of Russia far better than the Czech Republic but wilted alarmingly in their opening match against Greece.
Some of Poland’s key players are still relative young and this will be a huge test of their mental strength if they are to usurp Michal Bilek’s side to claim a quarter-final place.
It will not be easy as the Czechs have experience in midfield but there were signs in the second half against Russia that the team has grown within the space of a week and can now handle the heat.
The Czechs were buoyed by their vociferous fans when defeating Greece in Wroclaw on Tuesday. The stadium will feel a very different place when they return against the co-hosts. Expect that to be the decisive factor and tip Poland to make the last eight.
Back Poland to win at 6/5 (2.2) with William Hill
Russia and Poland in a double at 14/5 (3.8) with William Hill
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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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