8th June – Russia v Czech Republic (Group A)
Russia start their Euro 2012 campaign against the Czech Republic in the Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw on the 8th June. Russia go into the game as favourites having been most impressive in qualifying. Coached by Dick Advocatt, Russia topped Group B with seven wins from their ten matches. They have only conceded one goal in their last five matches and are clearly going to be tough to break down, even if they are not a favorite among us to win Euro 2012.
The Russians have been excellent in defence but also have plenty of talent going forward. Team captain, Andrei Arshavin may not have set the Premiership alight with Arsenal but a loan move to Zenit St. Petersburg may rekindle some of the striker’s best form for Euro 2012. Roman Pavlyuchenko found himself similarly banished to the outskirts of the Tottenham side and, concerned about his form for his country, moved back to Moscow in January. If these two find the spark that was missing in North London, they will be a potent threat to any side. See our live in-play betting guide for all Euro Cup games this summer
The Czech Republic had to come through a play-off against Montenegro to book their place at Euro Cup 2012 after finishing second behind Spain in their qualifying group. It looked a potentially difficult tie when the draw was made but the Czech’s put together two very accomplished performances to run out 3-0 aggregate winners. Head Coach Michal Bilek will be boosted by the excellent recent form of captain Tomas Rosicky at Arsenal and he will play a pivotal role for his country. Goalkeeper Petr Cech has been in fine form for Chelsea and will provide them with plenty of experience, as will Galatasaray striker Milan Baros. Formerly with Liverpool, Baros has now scored 40 international goals from 86 caps and claimed the Golden Boot at the European Championships in 2004 after scoring five goals during the finals.
Russia v Czech Rep Predictions and Odds
Russia are 11-10 favourites to open their campaign with a victory with the Czech Republic priced at 11-4 and the draw around 9-4. The Czechs have the potential to make it difficult and you certainly couldn’t rule out an upset, but the Russians seem to have the better attacking options and might open with a victory.
We found best odds at Bet365, Russia are regarding as sporting outsiders for Euro 2012 and are best priced at 25-1 whilst the Czech Republic are friendless at 66-1. If the Russians are to justify that support they should certainly be good enough to win here.
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