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Group A prediction: Russia – Czech Republic

Fridaynight two experienced teams will meet each other in Wroclaw, Poland. Two different teams as well. Russia is the clear favorite to win group A while the Czech Republic has to battle hosts Poland for place 2. The Czechs have a younger team than the Russians but lack experienced defenders.

Their most experienced defender is Michal Kadlec who stands at only 25 caps. However up front they have tons of experience thanks to their biggest stars Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros. The biggest question however is “Can Baros lead his team to glory after playing so little in the last couple of seasons?”

How different is this for Russia. They’ve got experienced players in every line. Think about their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev or their last line of defence with Aleksandr Anyukov, Sergei Ignashevich and Yuri Zhirkov who all play at big Russian clubs and had a decent European career. Up front the Russians will probably choose for Aleksandr Kerzhakov with Andriy Arshavin as a shadow striker. If this doesn’t work out manager Dick Advocaat always has his trump cards Roman Pavlyuchenko or Pavel Pogrebnyak on his bench.

Experience might be the factor that decides this battle. Czech Republic might lean on their goalkeeper Petr Cech and Rosicky and Baros to make the game. Russia will want to show their favorite role in this group by grabbing an early lead and casually building it out to a bigger score. Interesting will be to see how some of Czechs lesser experienced defenders will cope with Russia’s attacking force.

I am looking forward to see Tomas Necid play during his first big tournament after Czech Republic failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. The 22-year old striker who made a breakthrough when playing for the Czech side Slavia Prague currently plays for the Russian giants CSKA Moscow. He will be one of the players the Russians want to keep an eye out during set pieces as Necid stands at 1.90m. The other player to watch during corners will be defender Roman Hubnik who measures 1.92m. If the Czechs are trying to equalize to set pieces, their biggest trump card is on the bench. Striker Tomas Pekhart is the tallest outfield player in the Euros with a length of 1.94m. With the tallest player in the Euros being Petr Cech at 1.98m, Russia will have a hard time scoring from corners and indirect free kicks during this match.

All in all my prediction is that Russia will win this match 2-1 where Kerzhakov is a possible man of the match. But even when their much acclaimed goalgetter doesn’t play well, there is always another experienced Russian to fill the gap. Something the Czechs can’t really afford.

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2012 by in Predictions and tagged , , , , .

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