Poland made steady progress in the build-up to Euro 2012, going unbeaten in their last six warm-up games to head into the group stages brimming with confidence.
Franciszek Smuda’s squad has an average age of 25 and boasts plenty of big-game experience, with 17 of the 23-man group playing outside of Poland.
With the team out to pull off a few surprises, here are three bets to help punters cash in on the co-hosts’ potential success, not to mention their free £25 bet for registering with bwin.
Russia/Poland to be 1st/2nd in Group A (@ 4/1, free £25 bet wins £125)
As recent wins against Denmark and Italy have shown, Russia appear to be hitting form just when it counts and it will be a big ask for Poland to pip them to top spot in Group A.
However, matches against Greece and the Czech Republic represent a different prospect. The Greeks come into the tournament with just a single win in their last five outings and have lost on each of their last three visits to Poland.
The Czech Republic have a similarly poor record on Polish soil, having lost twice to the co-hosts in Warsaw in recent years, and ended their tournament preparations with defeat to Hungary.
In contrast, Poland have lost just two of their last 16 matches – to France and Italy – and are on a run of five games without conceding a goal, with results including a draw against Portugal.
Overcoming the likes of Greece and the Czechs should therefore see the Poles safely through just behind the potentially rampant Russians.
Poland to outscore Ukraine in groups (@ 19/20, free £25 bet wins £48.75)
Polish fans will undoubtedly be confident of outscoring their co-hosts, Ukraine, at the Euro 2012 finals and punters would do well to take heed of this.
A quick comparison between the two squads highlights the wealth of attacking options available to Smuda in comparison with his opposite number Oleh Blokhin.
For starters, there is the Borussia Dortmund trio of Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowksi, who come into the tournament on the back of securing a second-straight Bundesliga title.
Add to this the continental flair of Ludovic Obraniak and Eugen Polanski and there is every reason to expect Poland to outscore a Ukraine side still featuring 35-year-old former great Andriy Shevchenko, who is joined by Liverpool outcast Andriy Voronin.
Ukraine do have potential match winners in Artem Milevskiy, Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleh Gusev, but they face a stern test to even pick up a point from Group D, with games against Sweden, France and England to come.
Having lost their last two warm-up games to Austria and Hungary too, the signs certainly point to more goals for the Poles at 9/10, rather than the tie (15/4) or a higher total for Ukraine (33/20).
Lewandowski to be top goalscorer from Bundesliga (@ 9/2, free £25 bet wins £137.50)
Lewandowski may be a dark horse in the market for top Euro 2012 goalscorer from the Bundesliga behind Mario Gomez (4/1) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (17/4), but there are plenty of reasons to back the Pole at 9/2.
The 22-year-old comes to this tournament off the back of an impressive season with Dortmund, scoring 30 goals and claiming the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles along the way.
He will fancy his chances of adding to that total against the lacklustre defences of Greece and Czech Republic too. The Greeks have kept just a single clean sheet in their last six competitive games, while the Czechs have conceded in each of their last three matches.
Lewandowski will be full of confidence too, having scored with an impressive bicycle kick against Andorra in their final warm-up game.
His prospects of coming out as the Bundesliga’s top striker at Euro 2012 are also helped by the plights of Huntelaar and Gomez, who not only face competition for even a starting place, but could then find chances hard to come by in Group B, which is most people’s so-called Group of Death.
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