Russia vs. Czech Republic

Friday’s late kick off sees 2008 semi-finalists Russia meet 1996 runners-up Czech Republic in Wroclaw.

The Russians go in to the game as clear favourites to win Group A at a price of 2.38 (11/8), so it should come as no surprise that they are the likely winners here. They are unbeaten in fourteen games, and have kept nine clean sheets in the process, culminating in a shock 3-0 victory over Italy in their final warm up game.

Zenit St. Petersburg‘s Alexander Kerzhakov got the first goal in that game, and the striker is 7.0 (6/1) to do so again here. Bwin have him priced at 41.0 (40/1) to finish the tournament as top scorer.

No fewer than seven of the Russia squad played a part in Zenit’s Championship winning season, with most in contention to start this match; not least the midfield trio of Konstantin Zyryanov, Igor Denisov and Roman Shirokov. The latter grabbed the other two goals in that win over Italy.

Dick Advocat’s men are 2.2 (6/5) to win this opening game, with Czech Republic best priced at 4.0 (3/1). The draw is around 3.25 (9/4).

Czech Republic’s 2-1 defeat to Hungary in their final warm up game was their first defeat in six internationals. However, much like their three Group A rivals, they aren’t big scorers, managing just a single goal in each of their last four matches.

They are extremely unlikely to go anywhere near as far as they did back in 1996, where they only lost the final to a golden goal in extra time against Germany. They are 2.25 (5/4) to qualify for the quarter finals, behind Russia and co-hosts Poland.

The last time these two countries met was at Euro 96, where they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw, though a repeat performance here looks unlikely, with a 3-0 victory for Russia looking much more tempting at 34.0 (33/1) with Bet Victor.

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