Euro 2012: Saturday Match Analysis and Previews

Euro 2012: Saturday Match Analysis and Previews

Euro 2012: Saturday Match Analysis and Previews
By Ryan Stetson
Covers.com

Greece vs. Russia

Odds: Greece +425 Draw +250 Russia -164

Over/under: 2.5, Over +100, Under -141

About Greece:

FIFA world ranking:
No. 15

Recent results: 2-1 loss to Czech Republic 12/6/2012, 1-1 draw with Poland 8/6/2012, 1-0 win vs. Armenia 31/5/2012

The Euro 2004 champions must go for broke, needing a victory to advance past the group stage and it isn’t going to be easy.

Already banged up with a handful of injuries, first-choice keeper Kostas Chalkias was forced out of the last match and backup Michalis Sifakis will likely get the call again Saturday. The good news is defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be back in the mix after serving his one-match ban.

After conceding early goals in the first two matches of the tournament, Greece head coach Fernando Santos has hinted at lineup changes.

About Russia:

FIFA world ranking:
No. 13

Recent results: 1-1 draw vs. Poland 12/6/2012, 4-1 win vs. Czech Republic 8/6/2012, 3-0 win vs. Italy 1/6/2012

While Russia needs only a draw to advance, they’re expected to push the pace again. They lead the tournament with five goals in the first two matches, getting three of those from the emerging talent of Alan Dzagoev.

After Russian supporters were involved with violence before the club’s draw with Poland, FIFA dropped a heavy fine on the team and promised a six-point deduction in the qualifying round of Euro 2016 if they are involved in any more misbehavior.

Russia supporters reportedly have 20,000 tickets for Saturday’s match compared to 4,000 for the Greek supporters.

Tactics and lineups:

Greece will employ a 4-3-3, with Giannis Maniatis dropping back to midfield, sending Giorgos Fotaki to the bench.

Possible lineup: Sifakis in goal and Torosidis, K. Papadop'los, Sokratis and Holebas defending. Maniatis, Katsouranis, and Karagounis in the middle with Salpingidis, Gekas and Samaras striking.

Russia will likely stick with the 4-3-3 and the same starting 11, though if there is one change it could be at striker with Roman Pavlyuchenko possibly starting over Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

Possible lineup:  Malafeev in goal and Anyukov, Ignashevich, A Bere'skiy, and Zhirkov on the back line. Shirokov, Denisov and Zyryanov with Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, and Arshavin up front.

Czech Republic vs. Poland

Odds: Czech Republic +210, Draw +230, Poland +115

Over/under: 2.5, Over +100, Under -141

About Czech Republic:

FIFA world ranking:
No. 27

Recent results: 2-1 win vs. Greece 12/06/2012, 4-1 loss vs. Russia 8/6/2012, 2-1 loss vs. Hungary 1/62012

It looks as though keeper Petr Cech will be fit to start after suffering a shoulder injury, but captain Tomas Rosicky’s status is still uncertain as he deals with an Achilles problem. If he can’t go, Daniel Kolar could move into central midfield.

After taking a 4-1 thrashing from Russia in the opener, the club rebounded with two early goals against Greece and hung on for a 2-1 victory. That means a win here will secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

About Poland:

FIFA world ranking: 
No. 62

Recent results: 1-1 draw vs. Russia 12/6/2012, 1-1 draw vs. Greece 8/6/2012, 4-0 win vs. Andorra 2/6/2012

The co-hosts take their sixth crack at winning a European Championship match and a victory will put them in the quarterfinals of a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

Poland gets No. 1 keeper Wojciech Szczesny back in the mix after he served a one-game suspension, although midfielder Dariusz Dudka’s status is still up in the air. He’s been battling an ongoing muscle strain/cartilage issue.

Eugen Polanski is also uncertain with a bruised knee, leaving a lot of questions in Poland’s midfield.

Tactics and lineup

The Czechs will use a 4-2-3-1 formation and you have to think Rosicky toughs it out to pull the offensive strings.

Possible lineup:  Cech in goal, Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec and Limbersky defending. Hubschman, Plasil just behind midfielders Jiracek, Rosicky and Pilar with Baros striking.

Poland will go with a 4-1-4-1 and we assume Dudka will be the man behind midfield with Lewandowski striking again.

Possible lineup: Szczesny in goal, Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch at the back. Dudka supporting Blaszczykowski, Polanski, Murawski, and Obraniak, with Lewandowski up front.

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