With the first round of matches now over at Euro 2012, a clearer picture appears over who is likely to advance to the quarter-final stage and who could be heading home early.
In Group A, it’s Russia who hold the big advantage following their emphatic 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic on the opening night of the tournament.
Co-hosts Poland are the next opponents in the late kick-off on Tuesday night, with an opening day draw causing disappointment in the ranks after squandering a one-goal and one-man advantage against Greece.
With political history between the two sides, all eyes will be on the National Stadium in Warsaw, but Polish manager Franciszek Smuda insists that isn’t going through the mind of his players.
“These political issues don't concern us directly. We are more focused on the game, because we know we are playing against a great team,” Smuda told the press.
“Russia has outstanding players and this is what really interests us. We want to present ourselves in the right form. We have to prepare our tactics for this game."
Confidence is understandably high in the camp of the group leaders, and whilst manager Dick Advocaat is expecting a tough match, he’s confident his player’s are up to the challenge in a predicted hostile environment.
"Poland is a strong team and they're playing at home, which is an advantage, but we showed in our first match that we are a very good team and we can make it very difficult for our opponents,” said the former Rangers chief.
“We showed that against the Czech Republic and the games before as well. It will be a very interesting game."
Belief should be high in the Greek camp after their second-half performance against Poland, and they know victory against the Czech Republic would put them in a great position to qualify for the knockout stages.
Manager Fernando Santos isn’t taking the challenge lightly though, irrespective of the opposition’s emphatic defeat just four days ago.
"I believe that the fact that the Czech team got beat (by Russia) bears little meaning and changes nothing about them,” he said.
“They have strength all over the park and play in a compact style, they are an attacking team.”
For Czech Republic, it’s a chance for revenge after the Greeks produced a huge upset at Euro 2004, beating them in the semi-finals on the way to a famous victory.
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