Greece v Russia National Stadium, Warsaw
Russia coach Dick Advocaat’s assertion that his team have played the best football at Euro 2012 will come under the microscope when they look to seal a quarter-final place and send Greece home today.
The Russians impressed with their slick counter-attacks in thumping the Czech Republic 4-1 in their Group A opener but, with an unchanged side, could not sustain the momentum against lively co-hosts Poland and were held to a 1-1 draw.
Greece, who must beat the Russians to reach the last eight, cannot afford to make the slow starts that have cost them dearly against Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia, who need just a draw to progress, are unbeaten in 16 matches since a friendly defeat by Iran last year, and confidence is high in Advocaats squad, who are clearly benefiting from their Zenit St Petersburg backbone.
Greece coach Fernando Santos is set to make changes, with defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos available after a one-match suspension. Goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis will probably start after replacing the injured Kostas Chalkias midway through the first half against the Czechs.
Santos said his team, with one point from two games, could thrive in adversity.”We must leave it all behind us. We must take all our passion on to the pitch and I am sure we will make the Greek fans happy,” the Portuguese said.
Jonas Erikson (Sweden)
Chalkias, Tzorvas, Tzavellas, Malezas, Fetfatzidis, Ninis, Fotakis, Makos, Fortounis Liberopoulos, Mitroglou
Injured: A Papadopoulos
Manager: Fernando Santos
Akinfeyev, Shunin, Sharonov, Granat, Nababkin, Semshov, Izmailov, Glushakov, Kombarov, Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak Kokorin
Coach: Dick Advocaat