Russia v Czech Rep betting
Russia weak in the betting ahead of opening clash
Last Updated: June 8, 2012 12:33pm
Andrey Arshavin: set to pull the strings for Russia
Russia take on Czech Republic in Group A on Friday in what could be an entertaining end to the opening day of action at Euro 2012.
While neither side are expected to go the distance and trouble the big boys in this year's tournament, Russia are 20/1 with Sky Bet to win with Czech Republic priced at 80/1, we may see the competition get off with something of a bang.
Both teams will look to their attacking strengths as they hope to pick up maximum points from their opening game. Russia, who are weak in the betting despite their favouritism, will look to captain Andrey Arshavin to lead by example at the front, while striker Alexander Kerzhakov has 18 goals in his 43 appearances for the national team.
The Czech Republic will be relying on Arshavin's Arsenal team-mate, Tomas Rosicky, to provide the attacking impetus in their side. They struggled in qualifying and scraped into the tournament via the play-offs where they beat Montenegro 3-0 on aggregate but it's difficult to gauge their standing heading into the competition following their warm-up matches against Israel (2-1 win) and Hungary (2-1 defeat).
SKY BET ODDS
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Historically the opening round of fixtures in international tournaments are low scoring affairs and this is reflected in the prices for this game with under 2.5 goals at 8/15, although in this match it may pay to stick with the goals and side with over 2.5 goals at 11/8.
Kerzhakov is likely to start as the central striker in a three-pronged attack for Russia and with his goal record he is certainly worth a second look at 11/2 to open the scoring and could prove the bet of the game at 6/4 to score at anytime.
The duo have met on just one occasion previously, a 3-3 draw at Anfield during Euro 1996, and it is 80/1 for a repeat scoreline this time round. Russia to win 2-1 at 17/2, or a 3-1 Russia win at 20/1 may prove a more appealing proposition for supporters of Dick Advocaat's men.
Milan Baros could be playing his final games for his country as he contemplates international retirement after the tournament and is available 9/2 to score the opening Czech Republic goal in the game.