While Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark are all top ten in the FIFA rankings, the same doesn’t apply to any team in Group A and it represents a marvellous opportunity for Franciszek Smuda’s team to grab a win on Friday and ensure there is a feel good factor going into matches against Russia and Czech Republic.
Despite having a miserable 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, there is a general feeling that Poland can emerge from this section and face a Group B team in the quarter finals, with odds of 11/4 (BetVictor free bets) available that they go through as group winners.
While it’s hard to judge the Poles based on their lack of competitive action, they are now six games unbeaten and enjoyed a confidence boost on Saturday when thrashing Andorra 4-0 which was the fifth consecutive game where the co-hosts had kept a clean sheet.
With this in mind, the 4/5 about the team qualifying for the quarter finals looks like a decent bet and will be more like 1/3 on Friday if they have beaten a Greek side who don’t look particularly strong.
Even so, the Greeks did famously win Euro 2004 and they have qualified for this tournament on merit, having finished ahead of Croatia and forcing the latter to come through a play-off. Perhaps Fernando Santos’ are being under-rated and there is plenty of experience in the ranks, especially with the likes of captain Giorgos Karagounis in midfield.
Greece are the 5/1 outsiders (Paddy Power bookmaker) to claim a Group A success, with the bookies instead feeling as though Russia are the side who everyone has to beat in this section and Dick Advocaat’s side do have the potential to claim three wins and set up a last eight encounter against the Netherlands or Portugal.
Andrei Arshavin may not have demonstrated his best football while at Arsenal, although the attacking midfielder certainly helps his national team to tick and the same can be said of Tottenham flop Roman Pavlyuchenko, although it may be that the manager selects Aleksandr Kerzhakov in his place as the lone striker.
Odds of 6/4 (Sky Bet bookmaker) are available about Russia topping the section and this bet is sure to be popular with people placing four-folds on the Euro 2012 groups, with Czech Republic the team making up this quartet.
The Czechs are a 4/1 chance to claim a Group A success and a 6/4 poke (Coral) to qualify for the quarter finals, with Petr Cech a safe pair of hands in goal although a lot of reliance on midfielder Tomas Rosicky in the middle of the park.