8th June 2012 – Poland v Greece (Group A)
Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday 8th June with co-host Poland playing the shock 2004 champions Greece at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Both sides go into the tournament with steady, if unspectacular recent form. As co-hosts, Poland received automatic qualification but they have been showing some promise under boss Franciszek Smuda. Bosnia, Hungary and Belarus have all been defeated as well as a commendable 0-0 draw against the highly-rated Portugal in February. Poland have only been beaten once in their last nine games when they lost a friendly against Italy.
This is only the second time that Poland have competed at the European Championships and they will be looking to do better than the single point they managed in Euro 2008. Their most dangerous players are Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski and they have one of the best goalkeeper’s in Europe in Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny.
Greece to repeat their last success?
Greece topped Group F in the qualifiers with seven victories from ten matches. The Greeks caused one of the biggest upsets in the history of football when they claimed the 2004 European championships and they again go into the competition as underdogs. Greece only scored 14 goals in qualifying but only conceded five, suggesting that they will be formidable opponents for any side.
Head Coach Fernando Santos may select Celtic striker Giorgos Samaras and Theofanis Gekas to lead the attack but their campaign may be largely built upon solid defence. The last time the two sides met in March 2011 it produced a 0-0 draw and the likelihood is that the tournament will kick off with a similarly hard-fought match.
Poland v Greece Predictions
Poland are rated as 5-4 favourites to win this match with Greece at 9-4 and the same price about the draw. We found the best Euro 2012 betting odds in general at Bet365, and the same goes for this opening game.
The game does not look likely to provide too much in the way of fireworks so a draw could be the safest bet. Poland are 50-1 to win Euro 2012 with Greece priced even higher at 66-1. There is nothing in their recent form to suggest that they can go all the way in the competition but they will provide tough opposition to both Russia and the Czech Republic. Both sides are capable of producing a shock result in this tournament in what looks a particularly closely matched group.
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