Greece vs Russia Live Streaming Euro 2012Group A
18:45 +00:00, June 16, 2012
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland
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Greece vs Russia Euro 2012 preview From Espnsoccernet.com
Greece head into their final match of Group A against Russia with their fate in their own hands, despite having endured an underwhelming two matches at Euro 2012 when compared to their next opponents.
After demonstrating resolve to battle back from a goal down in their opening game against co-hosts Poland to claim a point, Greece were again guilty of a sluggish start when they took on Czech Republic on Tuesday. Indeed, they found themselves 2-0 down after six minutes.Like versus Poland, Fernando Santos' side rallied, but alas Theofanis Gekas' strike proved too little, too late. Speaking after the defeat, Greece defender Jose Holebas said: "We were asleep. We completely slept through the first 30 minutes, during the first half. Simple as that."Santos, though, has every faith that his charges will sharpen their minds ahead of a decisive fixture versus the impressive Russians, with a three-point haul enough to secure their passage to the quarter-finals. "My faith in my team is total," said the Portuguese coach, who will be without goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias after he sustained a hamstring injury during an error-strewn 23 minutes at the Municipal Stadium.Russia have received many plaudits for their performance thus far at the tournament, but the relinquishing of a lead in their last outing versus Poland has somewhat taken the shine off. While they top Group A by a point, having swept aside the Czechs on the opening day, they could still exit the competition.A draw, though, would be enough, while a victory will guarantee first spot which in turn will extend their stay in Warsaw, rather than setting up a potential trip to Gdansk and a meeting with Germany. Their coach, Dick Advocaat, has been bullish about their displays thus far. "For me, Russia are the best team in the tournament so far in terms of the way we have played."
Greece player to watch: Fanis Gekas. Greece's struggle for goals is well documented, even their triumph in Euro 2004 was based on a parsimonious back line and the odd pinched strike. Among those who perhaps can be relied upon to find the back of the net is experienced forward Gekas, after his strike versus the Czechs took his national tally to 22. Gekas was brought on at half-time and is surely pressing for a starting berth in light of the constant immobility displayed by Giorgos Samaras.
Russia player to watch: Andrey Arshavin. The Arshavin we have witnessed at Poland and Ukraine has been the Arshavin that persuaded Arsenal to fork out £15 million for his signature in the 2009 winter transfer window, after his twinkle toes wowed at Euro 2008 - where Russia reached the semi-finals. This summer, after being loaned back to Zenit where he has begun to recapture his form, Arshavin has reminded viewers of his undoubted gift. Evidence of his impact during Euro 2012: he has assisted three of his country's five goals to date.
Key Battle: Sokratis Papastathopoulos v Alan Dzagoev. The Greeks have so far failed to convince defensively, in particular during the opening exchanges versus the Czechs. They are, however, boosted by the return of centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, after he was harshly sent off in the game versus Poland. He, and the other members of his back four, will have his work cut out against Russia, who have been free-flowing in their attacking play. Dzagoev in particular has caught the eye, with the CSKA Moscow player netting three times in two appearances. The attacking midfielder's contract at CSKA only has six months left to run, and should he continue to impress then the list of suitors will continue to grow.
Trivia: There are three survivors of Greece's Euro 2004-winning squad at Poland and Ukraine.
Stats: Russia have won 13 of their previous 21 internationals against Greece, losing just three.
Odds: Greece (5.00), the draw (3.75) and Russia (1.72) are on offer with bet365, while Russia to be in front after ten minutes is 5.50.
Prediction: Following their European Championship glory eight years ago, Greece are without a win in their last five games in the competition. This unwanted statistic appears set to continue, as the Russians surely have too much for their opponents, such is the incentive of finishing top of the pile.