(Dimitrios Salpingidis added an extra dimension to Greece's attacking play as a substitute against Poland)
5:00 pm - Greece vs Czech Republic
The first fixture of the evening sees Greece face Czech Republic at the Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw with both sides looking to gain their first victory in Euro 2012.
Greece certainly had an eventful game against co-hosts Poland on opening night where they looked at sixes & sevens in defence in the first half resulting in 1-0 deficit at half time but then showed determination to equalise & only a missed penalty stopped them completing a second half comeback. Greece will have to make some changes for this match with Avraam Papadopoulos limping off & centre back partner Sokratis Papastathopoulos harshly sent off plus coach Fernando Santos will want to reward an excellent substitute appearance by Dimitrios Salpingidis with a starting berth.
The Czechs need to bounce back from a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Russia & show the football world they aren't just here to make up the numbers. They really struggled to cope defensively with the guile & skill of the Russians & keeper Petr Cech was exposed time & time again. The Greeks won't pose the same attacking threats as Russia but they will be looking to put in a high number of quality set pieces to test an already brittle/low confidence defence.
Any match involving Greece seems to be a tight low scoring affair but the odds for under 2.5 goals are prohibitive at 4/7, Greece do have both their starting centre backs out plus they need to win this before facing Russia & the Czech's could do with a result to give them a chance going into the final game against the Poles. The Czechs really did look a pretty poor side at the back & even though Greece aren't known for their expansive play we did like Dimitrios Salpingidis when he came on as he had a bit of pace & directness about him, he's on offer at 9/2 to score at anytime with Sportingbet but as short as 9/4 with Coral. We might be going loopy here but the odds of a high scoring game are probably a little bit too big too ignore, have a small bet at 11/1 on Betfair about this going over 4.5 goals, it happened in the Russia v Czech Republic game & we've a feeling this could be an odd match, not great strikeforces but poor or weakened defences for either side could make the difference.
(Alan Dzagoev celebrates his second & the Russian's third against the Czech Republic)
The second match of the evening should be an entertaining affair between Poland and Russia at the National Stadium, Warsaw. Russia top the group with three points & another victory will be enough to see them qualify for the knock out phase.
Russia looked mightily impressive in their first game & showed what an attacking force they are as a number of players caught the eye. Youngster Alan Dzagoev bagged a brace but Andrei Arshavin was involved in everything Russia produced in the final third & looks to have the bit between his teeth after a difficult 18 months. Striker Alexander Kerzhakov may not have found the net, thanks to some extremely profligate finishing, but his link-up play & positioning was excellent & we would expect him to get one more chance to lead the attack again despite substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko scoring an impressive individual goal.
Poland had a second half to forget against Greece & now have to cope with the suspension to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. A positive was the well taken goal by leading talisman Robert Lewandowski but he faded, as did the quality of the Polish side as the game went on. Defensively they are going to have to step it up a level to cope with the Russians & this looks like being a difficult ask for them.
We like the look of the 13/10 on offer for another Russian victory as they look a class above their Polish counterparts. The Russians at times also looked vulnerable at the back against the Czechs & Poland are much better offensively than defensively so a high scoring affair could be on the cards so take advantage of the 23/20 for over 2.5 goals.
Over 4.5 goals in the Greece v Czech Republic game at 11/1 (Betfair)
Dimitrios Salpingidis to score at anytime at 9/2 (Sportingbet)
Russia to beat Poland at 13/10 (Bet356/William Hill)
Over 2.5 goals in the Russia/Poland match at 23/20 (BetVictor)