Russia’s hard-fought point against Poland last night took them to four points and in command of a tight Group A at Euro 2012.
With the four sides separated by just three points after two games, there is still everything to play for.
The Russians are 1/20 to qualify from the group, largely thanks to their 4-1 win over Czech Republic that will give them the edge in their head to head and if goal difference is required.
Given their current position and the ‘easiest’ of their three games against Greece to come, Russia are also 1/5 to top Group A following match day three.
For Russia to miss out on the last eight they would have to be beaten by Greece and Poland or Czech Republic to win their final game.
Although not totally out the question, it is very unlikely that things will fall in such a way that Russia are sent home after impressing against Czech Republic and then ultimately settling for a point in a hostile meeting with rivals Poland.
Looking at the Euro 2012 outright market, Russia are one of the big market movers, in from a starting price of 20/1 to 11/1 with bwin.
At the start of the tournament, the Euro 2008 semi-finalists were fancied as a dark horses by many observers and these indications were justified when they put four past the Czechs – that caused the bookmakers to slash their price by almost half.
Their result against Poland was respectable but a lack of real penetration was evident in the Russians’ play and a poor night from Andrei Arshavin and another blank from Aleksandr Kerzakhov are a cause for concern, especially as their quarter-final will be against one of the Group B teams, all of whom are currently in the top ten of the FIFA world rankings.
Russia simply need to avoid defeat to Greece in their final game to make it to the last eight and this is all but assured, but depending on who their next opponents are, their fourth game of the tournament could well be their last.
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