Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Which side can escape the Group of Death?

With every major tournament draw, there is a group labelled the Group of Death. Similarly, there is a weaker group full of sides with limited expectations. That is undoubtedly Group A at Euro 2012.

Russia are the strongest team in the group and favourites to qualify on top. They were the surprise package at the 2008 tournament, reaching the last four before falling at the hands of eventual winners Spain.

Andrei Arshavin has largely been disappointing during his spell at Arsenal, but lit up the tournament four years ago and seems to thrive on the international stage. He is the one to watch in Group A and fans of Betfair should remember this.

Greece sit just one place behind Russia in the world rankings, in 13th, and will feel confident having qualified without losing a game. A repeat of their triumph at the 2004 tournament in Portugal is unrealistic but Greece certainly have enough quality to qualify for the knockout stage.

Co-hosts Poland are ranked below the likes of Haiti and Guinea in the world rankings, though they have suffered from a lack of competitive action in recent times. Poland’s last competitive fixture was a 1-0 home defeat to Slovakia in October 2009 and they may be caught cold at the start of Euro 2012. However, you cannot discount them in front of their home crowd and the Betfair Euro 2012 betting reflects this.

Czech Republic have been on the decline for a few years now. They struggled through a group containing holders Spain in qualification before beating Montenegro 3-0 in the play-offs. Given Poland’s home advantage, the Czechs are the outside bet for qualification.

Group A may lack the quality of the other groups at Euro 2012, but there is a competiveness to it which makes it just as intriguing. It is difficult to pick a winner.