Euro 2012: The Contenders – Russia




Devoid of big stars and players from big clubs, Group A is easily the weakest pool of the four comprising of Euro 2004 Champions Greece, co-hosts Poland, unpredictable Russia and the erratic Czech Republic.

Euro 2012: The Contenders - Russia

Euro 2012: The Contenders – Russia

On form, the Czech Republic are expected to qualify for the second round along with former champions Greece but the Russians led by Andrei Arshavin are no walkovers and with a partisan crowd supporting them, Poland do make Group A much more evenly matched.

Russia:

Russia come into the European Championships of 2012 with an aura of unpredictability that can be compared to a dormant volcano. After being a potent force in world football where they won the inaugural title in 1960 before finishing runners-up in 1962, 72 and 88, Russia have always been the sleeping giants of the world. Led by Arsenal striker Andrei Arshavin, the Russians put together a glorious run in 2008 before losing out in the semifinals to eventual winners Spain. But such has been the unpredictability of the team that the same team failed to qualify for the World Cups a couple of years later. Dick Advocaat, who took over the national team after the exit of Guus Hiddink has worked on strengthening his defence and the dividends could be seen in the form of their qualifying campaign where they stitched seven victories out of ten games.

Key Player: When looking for a key player amongst the Russians, you don’t have to look any further than the skipper Andrei Arshavin. Though not in the best form of his life, which saw him being shipped back to Russia on a loan deal, the world knows the flair and skill that he brings to an otherwise ordinary Russian squad.

Other Stars: Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Pavulychenko

Prediction: Group Stage

Russia have the capability to upset big teams on their day as was showcased in the 3-0 thumping of Italy during the warmups. However, with an ageing Arshavin leading the front line, Russia look susceptible going forward and this may prove to be a major Achilles heel.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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