Greece needs only a win against Russia tonight in order to qualify to the next round. Both of their matches so far were characterized by a poor defensive performance in the beginning of the first half. Over the last few days Mr. Santos and the players have been talking about the weaknesses that held the team away not only away from their real abilities but also from the win.
Mr Santos had made it clear that there will be changes tonight. Socratis Papastathopoulos (he received an unfair red card in the first half of the match against Poland and missed the match against Czech Republic) will definitely be in the starting line-up tonight. His absence in both matches weakened the defensive ability of the team and his return is expected to be a big help. Jolebas had a hard time on his defensive duties on the left side in both matches and he will be replaced by Tzavelas. According to the latest news Greece is expected to have the following starting line-up:
Salpiggidis-Gekas-Samaras (or Fortounis)
Russia is definitely the favorite in this match. Their quality was clearly stated in their first match against Czech Republic. In their next match against Poland I will risk saying that they were not after the win. The draw was a very convenient result to keep both fans calm. For the match against Greece all they need a draw to qualify.
It is sad to say that Russia’s main problem right now is not the opponent but the behavior of their fans. In fact, it would be very convenient for the local authorities and UEFA if Russia would not qualify to the next round. More than 20.000 Russian fans are right now in the country and the rivalry against the Polish fans still holds despite the arrests.
To conclude, this is a match that should better played in live-betting. Russia is definitely a strong favorite but the odds on their win are too low. Greece will have a more logical line-up tonight and it highly probable that they will resist. Needless to say that Greeks have shown to perform better when they are under high pressure. If this is the case maybe it would be better to wait to buy the win of Russia in better odds later in the match. My pick at the moment will be the draw at halftime @ 2.25.