What: Euro 2012 Group A
Who: Greece vs Russia
When: Saturday 16th June, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland

Last Chance

After drawing their Euro 2012 opener against Poland and then losing the second clash against the Czech Republic, Fernando Santos’ men have only a small chance of progressing. The Euro 2004 winners will set up in a typical 4-3-3, quite different from the formation used by Otto Rehhagel in that famous year.

Both games, against Poland and the Czech Republic, clearly showed Greece’s weakness lies up front, with only Dimitris Salpingidis looking dangerous; he plays alongside Georgios Samaras and Konstantinos Mitroglou. Fannis Gekas has featured and scored against the Czechs, but his goal was really a gift from Petr Cech.

Santos however is remaining confident that his men can pull off what would be an unlikely qualification. “We had a bad start against the Czech Republic, but then we played well”, said the Portuguese. “With this spirit we can play and have a chance until the end.”

Securing Top Spot

Russia produced some special football at Euro 2008 under the management of Guus Hiddink, and they are turning back the clock now at Euro 2012, led by another Dutchman in Dick Advocaat.

The former Zenit St. Petersburg coach’s 4-3-3 is essentially based upon players from two clubs – Zenit and CSKA Moscow. Against Poland, only Yuri Zhirkov, who is an Anzhi Makhachkala player, was not from one of the two.

Russia destroyed the Czech Republic 4-1 in their first match and played well against Poland in the second, but after Alan Dzagoev handed them an advantage against the co-hosts, Advocaat’s side could not close off the game. Chances were missed, with Andrei Arshavin culpable.

In this clash, Russia are keen to win, not just to send a message out to their rivals, but to finish top and avoid a potentially tricky clash in the quarter-finals.

Recent form

Greece 1-0 Armenia (31/05; Friendly)
Greece 1-1 Poland (08/06; Euro 2012)
Greece 1-2 Czech Republic (12/06; Euro 2012)

Russia 3-0 Italy (01/06; Friendly)
Russia 4-1 Czech Republic (08/06; Euro 2012)
Russia 1-1 Poland (12/06; Euro 2012)

Players to watch

Greece – Fanis Gekas: Santos looks set to hand another chance to Gekas, the Samsunspor forward who put on a good show against the Czechs. Greece need to take their chances in this game to have any chance of progressing and, as Samaras has been ineffective so far; Salpingidis and Mitroglou should get the vote to support Gekas.

Russia – Alan Dzagoev: Euro 2012 could be Dzagoev’s tournament. The CSKA Moscow midfielder scored a brace against the Czech Republic and then netted again against Poland. Skillful and clever, Dzagoev operates behind Russia’s lone striker, Aleksandr Kherzakov. The 21-year-old has the quality to make another good impression in this game.

Match Prediction

This is Greece’s last chance and Santos is set to send his side out with an attacking mindset as they seek to defy the odds and progress to the quarter-finals.

Advocaat meanwhile knows that Russia are one of the favourites to make the latter stages of Euro 2012 now and the Dutchman will want another victory to secure first spot in the group.

Russia, with an attacking trident of Dzagoev, Arshavin and Kerzhakov, should have too much power for the Greeks. Greece 0-2 Russia.

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