In the second Group A Euro 2012 fixture on Friday evening, Russia and Czech Republic go head to head for crucial points as Paddy Power announce free bets and report shortening odds on Dick Advocaat’s side.
These are the two favourites to progress from Group A of course, but defeat in this one leaves them both with a lot to do. Therefore, the pressure is well and truly on during Friday evening.
Looking at Russia to begin with, they are considered as the dark horses by many for success in this tournament and you can see why. They will enjoy the conditions, are in good form and have some decent players.
The likes of Andrei Arshavin, who captains the side, together with exciting midfielder Alan Dzagoyev, who has attracted the interest of Real Madrid give the midfield an impressive attacking threat, while Alexander Kerzhakov and Roman Pavlyuchenko will be an handful up front.
Not many teams will relish taking on the Russians and if they get a win in this opening game, they could go from strength to strength. They will be aiming to go further than the semi-finals which is where their journey came to an end in Euro 2008.
As for Czech Republic, they are another team that has an outside chance of making it to the latter stages if they begin strongly. As mentioned, they have every opportunity to get out of this group and beyond this, who knows what could happen?
With some talented players going forward and a reasonably solid defensive line, this Czech Republic side – who compete here 16 years after their famous Euro 1996 final appearance – will be desperate not to lose this opening match.
Much will depend once again on Milan Baros, and in likelihood the Czech side will probably come up short.
Overall, this should be a very tight affair with one goal likely to separate the two sides. It could be one moment of magic or one individual mistake to see who takes the advantage in Group A.
Following Poland v Greece, this one gets underway at 7.45pm on Friday evening, completing the opening night of Euro 2012.