Venue: Stadion Miejski (Wroclaw) Date: 8/6/2012; Kick-off time: 7:45
The Russians take on the Czechs in the second game of the tournament in what could prove to be a significant game in Group A which also includes Poland and Greece. This result will be important to both sides as they will want to get off to a good start in a group not containing one of the European powerhouses.
Despite Russia being tagged favourites for the group, Co-hosts Poland will mount a significant challenge in front of a home crowd. Czech Republic and 2004 winners Greece both boast reputable squads so both teams will be desperate for three points.
Latest news - Russia
Russia have included uncapped full-back Kirill Nababkin of CSKA Moskow into the squad as the only real surprise inclusion into Dick Advocaats 23 man squad.
Big names such as Andrei Arshavin, former Chelsea wing back Yuri Zhirkov and Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak are included as well as Spurs forgotten man Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Dick Advocaat remains positive about the Tournament “I am sure we will reach the peak of our game for the match against the Czech Republic” he also described Russia’s latest setback as a ‘training exercise’ after a 0-0 draw with Lithuania.
Latest news - Czech Republic
The Czechs have included Tomas Rosicky despite fitness concerns over the midfielder although is expected appear for the game against the Russians.
Key men Milan Baros, Petr Cech and Jaroslav Plasil also complete the 23 man squad. Milan Baros remains the Czechs first choice forward in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation although he has only managed 8 domestic goals this season with Galatasaray.
FK Jablonec forward David Lafata has been in a rich vein of form this season notching 23 goals for the Czech club which is a domestic league record and is also included in the squad.
Since the split of the Soviet Union the only previous encounter between the sides was a 3-3 draw in 1996. The neutral will be hoping for a repeat of that result although both sides will want to alter that record with a win in Wroclaw.
Predicted line up
Russia: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Anyukov, Zhirkov, Izmailov, Zyryanov, Shirokov, Denisov, Arshavin, Kerzhakov.
Czech Republic: Cech, Sivok, Kadlec, Gebre Selassie, Hubnik, Plasil, Rosicky, Jiracek, Rezek, Pilar, Baros.
Russia vs Czech Republic odds
Russia 2.10 (11/10) Czech Republic 3.50 (5/2)
Both sides have scored in their last 5 games and expected to come out all guns blazing at the start of the tournament Both teams to score at 2.15 (23/20) with William Hill looks enticing.
Full time 1-1 is 6.50 (11/2) with Bet365, both teams look equally matched and usually feature in low scoring games against equal opposition. Russia managed a 1-1 draw with Uruguay recently and Czech Republic only edged out Israel 2-1 with a 90th minute goal from Lafata.
With Lafata in mind he is 3.75 (11/4) to score anytime with William Hill. Lafata is bound to feature in this fixture and will trouble the Russian defence with his goal scoring prowess and create problems with his eye for goal.
Russia vs Czech Republic predictions
Both teams are unbeaten in 5 games and won’t be looking to give much away in their opening game. As previously mentioned Russia recently recorded a 1-1 draw against a strong Uruguay side while the Czechs beat Israel 2-1. Both sides have only conceded 5 between them in the last 10 games so expected it to be a low scoring game. Both teams are bound cancel each other out and with that in mind this one has draw written all over it.
Score prediction: 1-1
Tip: Draw 3.30 (23/10) Bet365
By Benjamin Smith
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