Russia vs Czech Republic by 20legend



The second match in Group A on the opening day when favourites Russia takes on the Czech Republic.


Group A is maybe the weakest groups in the Euro 2012 were almost anything can happen. However, Russia is big favourites to take the first place here, while Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic must fight in order to get the second spot. Russia qualified in a convincing way with 7-2-1 and 17-4 on goal difference in the qualifying stage. This years friendly matches have ended in two draws against Uruguay (1-1) and Lithuania (0-0), but also victories against Denmark (0-2) and Italy (0-3). The win against Italy was a massive result that showed what this team is capable of doing, and that they could get far in the Euro 2012 if they continue that kind of performances.


Russia’s squad is an experienced group of players, and many of their key-players plays for the same club on a daily basis. For example their midfield (Shirokov, Denisov and Zyrianov) are all playing at Zenit St.Petersburg and Russia’s two centre-backs (Ignashevich and Berezutski) are playing together in CSKA Moskow. Therefore can Russia’s starting lineup be dominated by players from Zenit and CSKA Moskow which gives Russian players a advantage when it comes to knowing each others way of playing. It will also be easier for them to develop good relations on the pitch as well.


The Russian’s first goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, have been struggling a bit with his knee problem that kept him out for a long time, but their manager, Dick Advocaat, has said that he will be okay to play. However, if he is not available, they have the experienced Vyacheslav Malafeev to cover his place.


The Czech Republic managed to qualify with 4-1-3 and 12-8 on goal difference in the qualification stage. They had some various results with a loose against Lithuania at home (0-1), while they took revenge against the same opponent away from home (1-4) in their second meeting. This year’s friendly matches shows that Czech Republic could be struggling in this group, with a draw against Republic of Ireland (1-1) and a quite shocking loose against Hungary last Friday (1-2).


The Czech Republic main problem will be to get their attackers to contribute more by scoring goals. Their top scorer in the qualifying stage was their left-back Michael Kadlec (4 goals) who takes the penalties. Milan Baros has been quite bad at the national level when it comes to scoring goals for a while now, and he is now doubtful. However the other strikers (Tomas Necid, Tomas Pekhart and David Lafata) are not very good replacements in my opinion. Therefore it would be interesting to see if some of these strikers could level themselves up and score more goals.


The Czech Republic has some quality players further behind on the pitch though. Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) and Petr Chech (Chelsea) are vital players who had fantastic seasons in Premier League this year. They will play the key-roles in this team.


I think that Russia will be able to take a victory in their opening game, because they possess some higher quality within the whole squad, compared to their opponents. Russia has a very experienced team and has showed solid shape lately. The Czech Republic has shown the opposite shape and I think their main problem will be to score goals. The odds have actually gone up a bit at the current moment, which I don’t understand at all. Pinnacle is now offering (2.28) on a Russian victory and that will be my pick here.


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Pick Bookmaker Odds Stake Result
Russia Pinnacle 2.28 8 4-1 WON (+10.24 units)
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