by Tom Allen
The waiting is finally over and Euro 2012 kicks-off on Friday when co-hosts
Poland take on Greece in Warsaw.
At the prices I think these two represent the best value in the Group A To
Qualify market, the dual forecast at 9/1 has been previously advised, and it
could well be that the spoils are shared on opening night.
Russia are the team to beat in this section but both this pair will be
mindful that losing their first match would make life very difficult indeed to
advance and the home team are short enough in the match odds betting.
At a shade over even money, Poland are opposed with a Greek team that
remained unbeaten in qualifying and still has plenty of tournament experience to
call upon, a factor not to be underestimated with regards this particular
A 1-0 win for Greece in their final warm-up game against Armenia was pretty
underwhelming but it is just one defeat in their previous 21 matches, a run
stretching back to August 2010, and they certainly know how to grind out a
result under pressure when it is required most.
It is always dangerous to write-off the host nation and Poland will have
their sights set on the last eight. I think they'll achieve that, probably no
more, but each match must be taken on its own merit and there's no doubt they
are too short to start with maximum points.
In Robert Lewandowski, Poland possess a striker of real quality but if the
Borussia Dortmund man fails to fire than goal threats elsewhere are pretty thin
on the ground and Greece are taken to deal with the hosts fairly comfortably.
Under Portuguese boss Fernando Santos, Greece carry more attacking intent
than the glory days of 2004, when they lifted this trophy of course, but they
are still built from the back and might just be able to pray on likely Polish
nerves in the opening exchanges.
This fixture has a draw written all over it but if there is to be a winner
than it could just come from the Greeks, despite what the betting suggests.
Greece are ranked 47 places higher than their Group A rivals, in fifteenth
place in the world list, and probably have the better individuals.
2pts Back Greece-Draw Double Chance (vs. Poland) @ 4/5 (Blue