Euro 2012 Outright preview - Group A
Group A features Poland, they are co-hosts of the tournament with the Ukraine.
The other three teams in the group are Greece, the Czech Republic and Russia. They will have their work cut out as they have not played a competitive game of football for 968 days.
They failed to make the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa. They have a squad that mainly plays in foreign leagues. A few of the first team play for the double winners Borussia Dortmund, including their star striker Robert Lewandowski.
He is prolific in Germany, you can back the Polish to score over four goals in their group at 2/1, he scored three goals in the German Cup final and he can take his club form to national level.
Their opponents are not special and they could shock all three. They are 7/2 to score seven points or more in their group games and that would allow for a draw against Russia.
If you fancy the lack of competitive football to take its toll, they are 20/1 to score no points and that would surely be the end of Smuda's spell as manager.
Russia played beautiful football on the way to reaching the semi-finals for Euro 2008. They breezed through qualifying and they are the team to beat! However, the players that featured in 2008 still make up the core of the club and the team has not developed in time.
Arshavin had a difficult time at Arsenal, Pavlyuchenko had to leave Tottenham but Pgrebnyak was a success at Fulham. They could be a good punt at 13/8 not to qualify, they may play good football but the Czech Republic and Poland will fancy their chances against Russia!
Greece caused a massive shock in 2004 by winning the competition. I doubt they will repeat the feet but a series of narrow victories helped them finish first in Group F. They seem to have a good team spirit and that can compensate for a lack of star names! A recession hit Greece would love their team to be successful.
They struggled to score in qualifying and the goals were shared amongst the players. Under three goals scored in the match is 11/10 and they could still find the net twice and reach the knock-out.
They are tough to beat and they will not concede many goals, they have a miserly defence. In their most recent friendly, a late free-kick from Slovenia cost them a 1-0 win. Under three goals conceded at 5/2 could be a good bet, they will have plenty of defensive set piece practice under Fernando Santos' leadership.
The final team in the Group is the Czech Republic, they were not sensational in their group but they sneeked into the play-offs via a controversial draw with Scotland. They have some fantastic players, Milan Baros has plenty of experience, Rosicky and Cech were in-form for their respective clubs at the end of the season.
With the Chelsea stopper in goal and a solid backline, they look unlikely to concede many goals. They are 15/8 to concede under three! Milan Baros won the Golden Boot in 2004, he is not as good of late but he could still be a threat.They are strong at the back and the problem could be goals, they are 11/8 to score under three in the group stage.
All of these countries have an opportunity to get out of the group, the Poland and Czech Republic is 9/2 to qualify in any order and the Russians could struggle. Those two teams get my pick!