Greece v Czech Republic preview
Round two of the Euro 2012 group games kick off on Tuesday as Group A takes centre stage once again.
After battling to a draw with ten men against co hosts Poland, Greece (11/5) are 13/8 for qualification to the knock out rounds.
Their opponents on Tuesday are the Czech Republic (7/5, draw 2/1) who were thrashed 4-1 by Russia and are outsiders at 9/4 to qualify. Russia are 1/16 and Poland 10/11.
It didn't start well for the Greeks as they were a goal down and a man down within the first 45 minutes as Sokratis Papastathopoulos was given his marching orders with a second yellow card. It is 11/2 for Greece to receive another red card against the Czechs and 11/4 for there to be a red card given to either side.
Against the odds, Greece battled and secured a point against the co hosts and arguably should have won the clash. Sotiris Ninis (16/1 FGS) was substituted at half time as Dimitrious Salpingidis (9/1) was brought on and he made an immediate impact by scoring an equaliser for the un fancied 2004 champions. He is 11/4 to score at anytime in the match on Tuesday.
With 20 minutes to go Greece could have notched ahead as a penalty was given and a second red card of the game. Arsenal goal keeper Wojciech Szczesny left the pitch after fouling Salpingidis in the penalty area. Przemyslaw Tyton was sent on and saved Girogos Karagounis's (16/1) spot kick. For a penalty to be awarded and missed in this match (either side) is 14/1.
Czech Republic were outclassed by Russia with their one shining light being the diminutive Vaclav Pilar (12/1). He netted for the Czech's and is 7/2 to score against Greece.
For the Greeks to come from behind and draw yet again is 15/2.
Friday's match with Poland was not the first time Greece have upset the odds in recent times, winning the tournament in 2004. They are 100/1 to be the surprise package and to lift the trophy this year.
I would find it very unlikely that the Greeks will go all the way again in Poland and Ukraine, but they have every chance of making it through the group if they can show the same fighting spirit that they did in the second half of their opener.
It would be no exaggeration to say that Greece should've been out of the game at half-time, but Fernando Santos will have had harsh words to say to his charges and his messages obviously did the trick.
The Czechs were disappointing also in the first half of their game, but unlike Greece, their woes continued in the second half and they were soundly beaten by the rampant Russians.
Czech gaffer Michal Bilek will be hoping for a big response against Greece, a win and they are right back in contention to go through, they tend to perform at their best when people are writing them off.
They lost against Lithuania at home in their first qualifying match but still ended up progressing so who knows.
Greece know all about people writing them off, the pundits were all saying eight years ago that their luck will run out but they continued to surprise.
I think though with key men missing at the back (Avraam Papadopoulos is out of the tournament after tearing his cruciate ligament), they will find it tough to get much out of this game, a draw seems very likely and I think 1-1 at 11/2 could be a good shout.