Euro 2012 update – June 8th

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The European Championships finally get underway tonight, with Poland, Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic set to open proceedings with back-to-back matches in Group A.

In the late kick-off, Michal Bilek leads his Czech Republic side into battle against dangerous outsiders Russia, with spirits high in the camp ahead of the clash in Wroclaw.

"I think our group is very balanced and that we are not the weakest team in it at all. We have a good team and we will see what happens tomorrow. To get through the group would be a success for us, I think," he told the media.

Dick Advocaat is at the helm of the Russians, and the former Rangers boss insists training has been light in recent days, with the 13th ranked side in the world eager to avoid injuries ahead of their opening match.

"I think that on the day before the game it is just a case of stay fit and there are no special exercises because everybody is watching us,” said Advocaat, whose side beat Italy in a recent friendly 3-0.

“There is no need to do so, we know everybody is fit and tonight we make a decision about the line-up and tomorrow we will tell the players."

Tournament co-hosts Poland kick things off against shock 2004 winners Greece, with expectations high that Franciszek Smuda’s side can cause a shock and reach the later stages.

He’s well aware of the threat that the Greeks pose ahead of their clash at the national stadium in Warsaw though, and expects to come up against a resolute defence.

"Their defence and their entire team area very defensive, they have a great defence. In fact, the Greeks are perfect in defence. We could see that during the European Championship in Portugal in 2004. So I'm sure for us it will (have to) be a great game," he said.

As for the ‘visitors’, they know that the atmosphere will be hostile on the opening evening, but are ready to spoil the party in a potentially vital opening group match.

"We are here to do something very concrete - that is to give 100 per cent, to enjoy our participation and to give joy to the people back in Greece. This is what we are thinking, this is what we are interested in," said skipper Giorgios Karagounis.

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