is currently in first place in Group A, but nothing is set in stone yet. Can they take care of Greece? Odds makers would certainly have us believe so, favoring Russia at -155. Similarly, they don't see it ending in a draw, listing that possibility at +280.
After two play days, Russia is atop Group A with four points with the Czech Republic at three points, Poland at two and Greece at one.
In short, everyone is still in it.
Wide open Group A
The Russians followed up a convincing 4-1 win over the
Czechs with a 1-1 draw versus co-hosts Poland. Alan Dzagoev made it three goals
in two matches when he put Russia up in the first half, but Jakub Blaskowski
netted the equalizer for the Poles early in the second stanza.
On the whole, Russia got more great showings from Dzagoev
and former Arsenal man Andrei Arshavin while goalie Vyacheslav Malafeev kept
the Russians from leaving the match with nothing at all.
Alas, they got a point and must be thrilled to have four out
of a possible six in this highly competitive group.
Greece started out slow once more in their affair with the
Czechs, giving up two goals in the first six minutes. The Greeks did get a goal
out of substitute Theofanis Gekas but ultimately they couldn't escape the
massive hole they'd dug themselves.
What does the loss mean? For Greece to have any chance of
advancing, they now must pick up all three points against the Russians on
Watching Russia has been a delight thus far in this
competition. Their passing has been crisp, their combination play excellent and
they've also been quite solid in the back.
And, after seeing Greece completely fall asleep in the early
stages (twice in a row), one would have to think the Russians have enough in them to win and stamp
out their place in the knockout round.
Arshavin has been incredibly dangerous so far in the
tournament and already has three assists through two matches. After a horrible
loss of form at Arsenal, he moved on to Zenit St. Petersburg, where he's played
much more regularly and has seemed to recover his spark.
Then, of course, there's Dzagoev, who's tied with Germany's
Mario Gomez (three) for most goals in the tournament.
Dzagoev's highly impressive performances have already
garnered interest from around the world, with Arsenal reportedly liking what
they're seeing out of the 21-year-old and eager to add some attacking might to
We also talked about Malafeev earlier and his performances
in goal shouldn't go unnoticed. He has 11 saves in two matches, the most of any
netminder in the competition. Greece may get a few chances here and there, but
Malafeev has shown he won't be easily beaten.
In the end, we're making this pick based on what we've seen
out of both teams so far. Russia has looked dangerous from the opening whistle while it's taken Greece some time to play their way into their comfort zone
For Russia, the job isn't done just yet and we think they'll
send the Greeks home behind some more inspiring work from Dzagoev and Arshavin.