The second round of fixtures commences on Tuesday as the tournament reverts back to Group A action. The surprising Greeks will take on a Czech Republic side coming off an embarrassing defeat. The Czechs know they’ll need to take a full three points from this match if they are to have any hope of advancing, while Greece sees this as a huge opportunity to punch their ticket to the qualifying round.
Though Greece endured a nightmare start to their opening fixture against the hosts Poland, they rebounded admirably in the latter stages of the match, likely deserving a victory. After conceding in the opening minutes, and having a man sent off on a harsh red card, the Greeks scored short-handed, missed a poorly taken penalty, while squandering away many other prime opportunities. If the Greeks are to advance in Group A, they’ll need to be much more clinical in the opposition’s half, but can take solace in the fact they were clearly the better team in their first game.
The Czechs meanwhile started positively, but it quickly went downhill from there. They were throttled by a 4-1 score-line to an energized Russian squad, and were simply porous on defense. Too often the Czechs were caught without enough men to defend, and showed vulnerabilities to the quick Russian counter. Coach Michel Bilek is aware that in order for progression, his side need to win this match, so look for a much better effort from a desperate Czech squad.
Greece vs Czech Republic Betting Odds:
Greece (+230) / Draw (+220) / Czech Republic (+130)
Over 2 (-115) / Under 2 (-105)
Match Analysis & Pick:
Oddsmakers are clearly expecting a much more inspired effort from the Czechs against Greece, but it won’t be easy against a hard-working Greek defense. What makes Greece such an effective side is they realize their offensive limitations, and make up for it by playing a solid team-oriented system, relying on a suffocating defense. After a tough opening twenty minutes against the Poles, the Greeks gained composure and confidence and were the better team on all areas of the pitch. If they can duplicate that effort against a lacklustre Czech side, you have to like their chances here.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos will remain in the centre of defense for Greece, and was dominant in their first game after coming on as a substitute. However, it’s not all good news for the Greeks as they’ve endured their fair share of injuries so far in the tournament. Midfielder Giorgos Fotakis will be out with a thigh injury, as will suspended defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Despite the recent setbacks, Greece are a deep and cohesive bunch, and will be looking for a win against the Czechs.
Expect this fixture to be a very tight and competitive affair. Both teams struggle scoring, and look for a much improved defensive effort from Bilek’s Czech squad. The Czechs were too loose in defense against the Russians, and they didn’t get nearly enough from team leader Tomas Rosicky. Up front, Milan Baros was isolated and lacked proper service, an issue that should be improved upon in this match.
Look for a hungrier, aggressive Czech side, but one that will be forced to leave themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack. Greece isn’t exactly Russia on the break, but proved against Poland they can dictate a match if given the opportunity. Though the Czechs need a win, Greece will be going for three points as well. Unfortunately, look for neither squad to be able to break the game open in what will most likely be a closely fought, low-chance draw. Currently, Greece can be found around +120 on the ‘Draw No Bet’ market, which may also provide solid value for bettors favouring their chances at a low-risk, high-reward proposition.
That said, the value the draw provides is too good to pass on and though the Czechs will push hard for a win, Greece plays as tight a defensive system as any team in the competition, and will be able to hold on for a result.
PICK: Greece/Czech Republic To Draw (+220) <– Click for $100 FREE bet