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Poland vs Russia: Euro 2012 Preview and Prediction
Published by William | Filed under Euro 2012, Predictions, Previews
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6/12 20:45 CET, Poland vs Russia – Odds | Stats
The second round of the Euro 2012 group stage kicks off with neighbors Poland and Russia of Group A. While it was the Russians who capitalized with the only win, Group A is still wide open. This fixture has high potential, but it is drawing more attention about what will happen off the pitch than on it. Four hundred years of conflict have added tension ahead of Tuesday’s encounter in the National Stadium of Warsaw. The Russian soccer federation has appealed to fans to behave and be respectful to avoid more problems. Russian hooligans attacked several stewards after their win against the Czech Republic which could lead to a reduction of points for their country. The players and the rest of the world are looking to leave the fighting on the pitch and move on with the tournament.
Poland had a very tough tournament opener against Greece that saw a roller-coaster of events transpire. Poland controlled the opening half but failed to put away a ten men Greek side that by the end had the better of the opportunities. Robert Lewandowski scored a brilliant header in the 17th to send the host nation into eruption. Wojciech Szczęsny, who predicted Polish victory before the tournament, made a mess of a cross that was tapped home for Greece to level at one-one. The Arsenal keeper then went on to receive a red card and conceive a penalty for a challenge in the box.
Head coach Franciszek Smuda and Poland are looking to shock the world in their 2nd ever European Championship. His men will sit back and defend against the Russian attack, taking their chances from counters and set pieces. Borussia Dortmund duo Jakub `Kuba` Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek will have to break up the Russian possession in the midfield and create some of their own for the Poles to have a chance.
The Russians have already showed one of the tournaments best performances in their 4-1 routing of the Czech Republic. Knowing a win would guarantee their qualification, the players will again be on the attack. Zenit Saint Petersburg players form the backbone of the Russian side and no doubt play well together. With only three oversees players, the Russians all know each other well and combine to form a solid unit. Manager Advocaaat however, will have a tough decision in who to start as striker. Zenit striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov missed countless goal scoring chances that could have seen the Russians in double figures. Former Tottenham Roman Pavlyuchenko, on the other hand, came off the bench to assist a goal and score one for himself only minutes later. Captain Andrei Arshavin will again try to be the creative spark in front of the midfield. With two goals already, 21 year old CSKA Moscow Alan Dzagoev bought his ticket as one of the tournament’s players to watch.
Fourteen fans were arrested following the fight that occurred after the Russia Czech Republic match where around 30 fans attacked stewards. There were further reports of racism against a Czech defender that are being investigated. Authorities are also working to ease tension about a planned march by Russian fans through Warsaw to the stadium.
Poland were very impressive in the first half, but could not break down 10 men Greece. The second half saw the Poles lose their momentum and it was Greece who looked more threatening. Russia is more dynamic and attacking than Greece and will test the Polish defense. Poland will try to keep a close match and duke it out against the Czech Republic in their final group match, but it is Russia who will get the better of the host nation.
Poland 1 - 3 Russia
June 11th, 2012