Euro 2012 Profiles
While it certainly isn’t considered a “group of death,” this group surely will present a challenge for the quarter final berths. Poland will be fancying their chances not only because they’re the co-hosts, but for the first time in a while they seem to have the tools to get the job done. They have of course in Wojciech Szczesny a world-class goal keeper, as well as Robert Lewandowski spear heading their attack. Undefeated in 2012, they’ll be hoping that their good form including their recent 4-0 win over Andorra and home support will get the ball rolling against Greece in the opener.
Stricken by recession, the Greeks will be hoping for a reason to smile this summer. Coach Fernando Santos will be hoping that his players can invoke the memories of 2004 in a group that though challenging is really open. Among their ranks seasoned campaigner Giorgos Karagounis is one of the remaining survivors from their championship-winning campaign. However Celtic striker Giorgos Samaras has only one goal in qualifying and six goals last season for his club. So it seems the economical situation will be not be the only issue of concern among Greek fans this summer.
The mood in the Russian camp should be optimistic in the wake of their 3-0 defeat of the 2006 World Champions. Among the four teams they boast the most stars including CB Roman Sharanov, LB Yuri Zhirkov, wide midfielder Marat Izmailov and of course Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack. Admittedly however they have a tough act to follow this year after their run to the semi final in 2008 defeating favourites Holland along the way. Regardless the Russians seem poised to qualify from their group. Familiarity could work to their advantage as they face Greece in their final group match for the third European Championships in a row defeating them in the previous encounters.
As far as creativity goes, Tomas Rosicky will have to be at the centre of the Czech universe in Poland this summer. If his Arsenal form in latter half of the EPL season is anything to go by, then expect a strong challenge from the Euro ‘96 runners up. The Greeks should be the team they want to beat the most as they lost to them via the silver goal in Euro 2004 at the semi finals. Petr Cech, a newly-crowned Champions League winner, was also in that 2004 squad and would be hoping that his club exploits in Europe this season can motivate the rest of his peers to achieve the unexpected in the group.
RUS - 75%
POL - 69%
CZE - 69%
GRE - 60%