Warsaw: The Russians proved their dominance against the Czech Republic (4-1) in the opening FIFA Euro 2012 match and could progress directly to the quarter-finals with one round to go if they beat Poland here.
Poland is disappointed with the performance against Greece (1-1), but still have a chance of progressing even with a point against Russia, if they beat the Czech Republic in the final round. Both teams will be looking for a victory, but would settle for a draw without problems. The match will be played on June 12th.
Was it not for Aleksandr Kerzhakov and his seven misses, the 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic could have been even higher. Russia played very good and Andrei Arshavin was the dominant figure on the pitch, as he was both the engine and the creative spark of the Russian side. His performance was amazing, though he was helped by young Alan Dzagoev who scored twice, and assisted by the vulnerable and poorly positioned Czech defence.
Polish defence isn`t far from the Czech one, though the Greeks didn`t manage to exploit the holes well enough to take the victory. The average Polish side only played well for half an hour against Greece, and then lost their pace as they got tired very quickly from the initial euphoric period. Poland is mostly threatening through the flanks, hoping to send a good cross towards Robert Lewandowski, and Lewandowski is also helping a lot in the midfield with his ability to keep the ball in possession.
Still, Poland is a one-trick pony and the trick worked well against Greece only on one occasion, when Lewandowski scored on a cross in the 17th minute. Much more than that is needed to win against the might Russian squad, and Poland will have to do their one trick many times if they want to take a point or three. They`d also need to deliver a much more confident performance, the kind the home team should deliver, and they`d need to keep the ball far away from their own penalty box.
Russian spirit is high after the friendly victory against Italy (3-0) which was confirmed by a high victory (4-1) against the Czech Republic and the Russians will be looking for a quick resolution of this group. Although they have two different speeds, one being the dominant one, and the other being a lazy one, they`re likely to maintain the same dominant approach against the Poles.
Although Poland is the host, Russians won`t mind and will be dominating throughout the pitch. Alan Dzagoev scored twice already and got his baptism of fire early, and he should be a driving force of Russia in the remaining matches, with the confidence brought by the double salvo against the Czechs. Even if the Poles can stop teams with one creative player, such as Arshavin, they are in no position to stop a team with two creative players, Arshavin and Dzagoev.
Russia is expected to keep their winning streak alive, and Poland could once again burn out because of their unrealistically high expectations. With the Russian offense performing that well, and with Lewandowski being able to score anytime, a high-scoring match is expected.
BDST: 1927 HRS, June 11, 2012
Edited by: Manoz Halder, Newsroom Editor
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