Poland: 4.00 to win the group, 1.85 to reach the last 16 and 60.00 to win the tournament.
The least glamorous of the four pools, group A kicks off on June 8th with hosts Poland lining up against 2004 Champions Greece. The Poles will have a weight of expectation on their shoulders, and much is expected of their main man ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI.
The big striker is coming into the tournament off the back of a super season for newly crowned Bundesliga champs Borussia Dortmund. The 23-year-old has scored a goal every other game for Dortmund over the course of the past two seasons, and notched an impressive 21 times this term. He’s likely to be in among the goals, given the service, but a lot depends on the performance of his team mates, which is reflected in his odds of 45.00.
Greece: 5.50 to win the group, 2.30 to reach the last 16 and 75.00 to win the tournament.
Greece will be relying on goals from GEORGIOS SAMARAS in their quest to emulate their shock victory of 2004 in Portugal. But the Celtic frontman isn’t having the best of times of late, as his measley total of just six SPL goals this season demonstrates. It’s not as if his step up to international football has been fruitful, either – he’s hit the net just seven times for his 52 caps. Furthermore, even in winning the championship eight years ago, the Greeks scored very few goals eight years ago, and are hardly renowned for a free-flowing attacking style. So I don’t expect Greece to score many, and their long-haired lover is rightly determined as a long shot for the Golden Boot at 100.00. Meanwhile, Samaras’ probable strike partner THEOFANIS GEKAS, who has a more impressive goalscoring record of 21 in 56 for Greece, looks marginally better value at 100.00, but do consider that the 31-year-old has scored just one of that tally since October 2009.
Czech Republic: 4.50 to win the group, 2.10 to reach the last 16 and 60.00 to win the tournament.
Elsewhere in Group A, the Czech Republic will fancy their chances of making the knockout stages, boosted by the late season form of their captain, Arsenal playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who does score sporadically for his country – 20 in 85. But for a more realistic goalscoring candidate, plump for MILAN BAROS. The bucktoothed former Liverpool, Villa and Portsmouth man won the Golden Boot at the 2004 Euros, so he has previous. And in spite of his age, the 30-year-old has been enjoying an Indian summer at Superlig champions Galatasaray in Turkey. With the Czechs a sure bet to play at least four games, Baros at 100.00 could yet prove decent value.
Russia: 2.30 to win the group, 1.38 to reach the last 16 and 20.00 to win the tournament.
The final side in Group A are my ones to watch in the whole tournament: Russia. Led by Dick Advocaat, this well-oiled machine surprised many at the last Euros and will no doubt benefit from the rise of the nation’s domestic league of late, where their star men, ANDREY ARSHAVIN and ROMAN PAVLYUCHENKO have recently returned after ill-fated spells in England. Arshavin, for all his whimpering at Arsenal, is technically superb and has shown an aptitude and passion for the international stage. He’s at 100.00, while Spurs reject Big Pav is half the price at 50.00, which is not bad considering his record of 20 in 45 for Russia. What’s more, I expect him to start. He’ll joined up top by Zenit St. Petersburg hitman ALEKSANDR KERZHAKOV, also priced at 50.00, with Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak on the bench.