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Group A preview: Poland will find life tricky vs Greece

by Aidan Elder | June 8, 2012
Jakub Błaszczykowski

Jakub Błaszczykowski – Polish captain and Scrabble goldmine

By Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer

Group A betting preview: Poland v Greece Friday, 5pm (BBC1 and RTE2)

The lowdown

It’s lucky this game kicks of Euro 2012 because otherwise it looks as appetising as a Dettol sandwich. All the flag waving and interpretive dance no-one understands of the opening ceremony is sure to get the hosts all fired up. Whether or not it actually makes a difference for Poland remains to be seen.

The stereotype of Greece being difficult to breakdown may stem from 2004, but it’s still relevant. They conceded just five in 10 qualifying games, going undefeated in a group full of banana skins. The closest thing they have to a superstar is a Freddie Mercury lookalike up front, but that may not hinder their well-organised and probably dreary progress.

Match bet

Poland may want a win to inspire a nation, but only twice in eight attempts have the hosts of the Euros won their first group game of the tournament. A draw looks as likely as thinking ‘how is Samaras a professional footballer?’ at some point during the match.

A Correct Score stab in the dark

It’s Greece. Sticking with something low-scoring looks like the thing to do. Any number of things could happen is this game – a boring scoreless draw, a boring score draw or a boring narrow win for one of the teams. Stay low.

A goalscorer bet to look out for

Robert Lewandowski (23, 42 caps/14 goals) is going to get a lot of attention after a prolific season for Bundesliga champions, Borussia Dortmund. But for something a little less ‘BBC panel’, going for the Greek talisman of Fanis Gekas (32, 57 caps/21 goals) isn’t a bad idea. He also had a decent season at club level – even if it did involve the second tier of German football and then relegation from the Turkish Superlig – and has a good record at international level. He’s 15/2 to be First Goalscorer and 3/1 to score at anytime in the match.

Something a bit random

Half time score to be 0-0, full time score to be 1-0 Greece = 13/1

Robbie Fowler says

I’m on record saying Poland will surprise many people in the Euros and I feel they’ll win this group if they get off to a good start. Which I think they will. Poland win.

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