Today at Euro 2012: Poland v Russia; Greece v Czech Republic

 

Poland v Russia

Despite being overwhelming favourites to book their place in the knockout stages within two games, Russia have denied claims of complacency ahead of today's fixture against Poland.

Unbeaten in 15, Dick Advocaat's side kept up their excellent form with a classy opening-day win. But the coach believes his squad must have total concentration to finish the job.

"Not once have I seen the players thinking this will be an easy game, as there are no easy games," Advocaat said. "Against Poland it will be a different game and I think that it will be a tougher match than the first one [against the Czechs]."

Any tinkering is likely to be kept to a minimum, if at all. Aleksandr Kerzhakov is expected to be given a chance to redeem himself after a number of glaring misses.

Poland will call on penalty hero Przemyslaw Tyton again as Wojciech Szczesny serves a one-match ban for his sending off against the Greeks.

There is also talk that Poland coach Franciszek Smuda will ring the changes. Even though they started well, Smuda is worried about the burden of expectation from the home crowd: "We were very well prepared but we were under great pressure, great stress, and it was a big burden for this very young team."

And he rejected claims that the game is a must win, as their fate looks set to be decided in the final game against the Czechs. "A draw is not the end of it; this tournament is open," Smuda said. "We have two matches to go and should just focus on the next one and winning it."

Group A

Kick-off 7.45pm, Warsaw (ITV 1). Ref W Stark (Ger)

Odds: Poland 11-8 Draw 9-4 Russia 7-4

Greece v Czech Rep

Greece and the Czech Republic are struggling defensively ahead of their crucial second game in Group B.

The Greeks are without their preferred central pairing of Avraam Papadopoulos, out of the tournament with a knee injury, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who was harshly sent off in the 1-1 draw against Poland last week.

Although events conspired against his team in Warsaw, Greece's coach, Fernando Santos, was angry that his players had not followed pre-match instructions – notably during a frantic opening in which they allowed the hosts to dominate.

"I am very well aware of the mistakes that my [players] made," he said. "Before the match, I made out a list of all the things the players should avoid doing. And those are all the things they did."

The Czechs' problems are of their own making, after they conceded four against Russia. Their coach, Michal Bilek, might be tempted to reshuffle his pack. Tomas Hubschman could be included to provide extra protection for a shaky back four. The goalkeeper Petr Cech wants his team to be more aggressive going forward, but is wary of Greece's ability to hit them on the break. "The result of the first match means we have to go out and be attacking in our second game," the Chelsea keeper said. "But it will not be all-out attack as that would open us up at the back."

If they were to lose again, Bilek's side would be the first country out of the competition, something of which the defender Roman Hubník is all too aware. "The pressure for this game will be higher than the pressure against Russia," he said.

Group A

Kick-off 5pm, Wroclaw (ITV 1) Ref S Lannoy (Fra)

Odds Greece 11-5 Draw 9-4 Czech Rep 7-5

Player to watch: Roman Shirokov, Russia

The strength of this Russia side is their fluid movement, their ability to tease teams apart and tear through the gaps. The whole side can do this, but no one is more astute or more ruthless than Roman Shirokov. The Zenit St Petersburg schemer is the deadly man in the Russia midfield. While the full-backs overlap and the forwards pull left and right or drop off, Shirokov waits as the situation develops in front of him. Anticipating the runs of players, sensing the creation of space, judging the timing of his dart forward and then finishing precisely: Shirokov is one of this tournament's sharpest attacking midfielders. He showed as much in Russia's marvellous 4-1 win over the Czech Republic on Friday. He started one move, finding Andrei Arshavin, before continuing his run into the box. Arshavin played the ball back to him and he flicked it perfectly over Petr Cech with the outside of his right foot. It was classic Shirokov. He has been doing this very often recently: he scored five Champions League goals for Zenit last season, equalling the Russian record. A relatively late arrival in elite football – he made his Russia debut at 26 after years in the lower leagues – he has since made himself an important part of a Zenit side whose winning habit Russia might just replicate.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit