Author Archives | Wolf Andersen

2012-2013 UEFA Champions League Groups, Tips, and Predictions

Group Stage Set For 2012 Champions League: The 2012 Champions League is going to be a tough haul for the 32 teams that are involved, as just one can claim the biggest prize in European soccer. The ping-pong balls have been drawn, and the 32 teams have been placed into their eight Champions League groups of four for the fixtures that are going to get underway starting in September. Needless to say, there are going to be a few teams that are quite happy with what should be relatively easy draws going into the knockout rounds of the Champions League, but there are others that are going to be quite upset with the teams that they are going to be sharing fixtures with for the rest of the calendar year.

2012 Champions League Groups
Group A: Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kiev, FC Porto, Paris Saint-Germain
Group B: Arsenal, Montpellier, Olympiacos, Schalke 04
Group C: AC Milan, Anderlecht, Malaga, Zenit St. Petersburg
Group D: Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Real Madrid
Group E: Chelsea, Juventes, Nordsjaelland, Shakhtar Donetsk
Group F: Bate Borisov, Bayern Munich, Lille, Valencia
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Celtic, Spartak Moskow
Group H: Braga, CFR Cluj, Galatarsaray, Manchester United

At one glance, the team that has to be quite happy is Manchester United in Group H. Surely, there will be a fixture or two in which full points aren’t achieved, but relatively speaking, this is going to be the easiest group that the Red Devils could have asked for. The truth of the matter is that another English giant, Arsenal has a relatively easy draw as well, knowing that it shouldn’t have all that many problems with Schalke, Olympiacos, and Montpellier in Group B.

Further down the road, it appears as though PSG, the team that is the overwhelming favorite to win the Ligue 1 this year, will be able to get into the knockout rounds of the Champions League with ease out of Group A. AC Milan is a team that should have no problems in Group C, though it will be interesting to see if Malaga can keep its early season momentum going in La Liga and get into the knockout stages of the Champions League as well.

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Group E should be fairly cut and dry, as Chelsea and Juventes should be head and shoulders above Shakhtar Donetsk and Nordsjaelland, both of which are fortunate just to be here at this stage of the competition. Those two will be fighting for the drop in spot to the Europa Cup in 2012-13. Group F features one team with absolutely no chance in Bate Borisov, and three teams that have to feel like they can all get into the next stage of the competition. Meanwhile, in Group G, Barcelona should get through in a romp over three teams that should all be ready to fight. Celtic has to think that this is a great chance to get through, though Benfica and Spartak Moskow aren’t going to go down easily.

However, all of the buzz is about Group D in the Champions League, which is easily the Group of Death. Real Madrid and Manchester City are the two highlights of the group, and one would think that they would both be able to get through to the second stage of the competition. That might be how it ultimately plays out, but Ajax is a team with a ton of experience at this level and a slew of Dutch championships, and Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga. It won’t be an easy group to handicap for sure, and this very well could be the second straight year in which Manchester City is left out in the cold and forced out of the group stages of the Champions League.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Euro 2012 Quarterfinals: Czech Republic vs. Portugal Tips, Predictions, & Picks

Euro 2012 Czech Republic vs. Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo Goal To Make Difference: The first match on the Euro 2012 quarterfinals schedule kicks off on Thursday night at National Stadium, where the Czech Republic look to pull off the upset of Portugal. These two teams both know that they are relatively lucky to be in this position, yet both now all of a sudden think that they should be amongst the favorites on the Euro 2012 betting lines. Join us for our Euro Cup picks for the Czech Republic vs. Portugal fixture on Thursday!

Losing the first match in the group stages often leads to disaster, but both the Portuguese and the Czechs were defeated to start this tournament. One of the two will be in the semifinals of this clash, and the possibility is there as well that the team that the winner of this one will be going against will be France, another team that was defeated in one of its matches in the group stage. Of course, what could be waiting instead is Spain, the defending Euro 2012 and World Cup champions. Both of these teams are in good shape of late though, as each took six points from their final two matches in the group stage.

Czech Republic vs. Portugal Schedule and Match Information
Czech Republic vs. Portugal Match Date/Time: Thursday, June 21st, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Czech Republic vs. Portugal Stadium: National Stadium
Czech Republic vs. Portugal on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Czech Republic vs. Portugal Euro 2012!
Czech Republic vs. Portugal Match Odds: Portugal -0.5 (-130)
Czech Republic vs. Portugal Betting Line Total: 2.5 (Over +105)

It was a rough first match and change in this tournament for the great Cristiano Ronaldo, but now, he is back in the fold for the Euro 2012 Golden Boot. He scored twice against the Netherlands in what proved to be the pivotal match in the Group of Death in Group B, and that sent the Portuguese from the outhouse to the penthouse and the quarterfinals of Euro 2012. There were five goals scored by Portugal in the opening stage of this tournament. Helder Postiga and Silvestre Varela were both goal scorers as well along the way, and the two have both played some crucial minutes for their country. Nani has been one of the top midfielders for this side, but there have been some struggles in the center of the pitch. In the back, Portugal has been solid, though not nearly the most outstanding team in the tournament. Rui Patricio has allowed four goals thus far in the Euro Cup, though we must admit that that isn’t all that shocking against what proved to be a very, very tough group.

There was a time that the Czech Republic was looked upon as potentially the worst team in this tournament. After all, Russia crushed the Czechs 4-1 in just the second match of this tourney, and the latter were written off as a result. Petr Cech really struggled against the Russians, allowing four goals, many of which could have been stopped in his better days. However, he really bounced back, allowing just one goal in his last two matches. The midfield for the Czechs has been simply awesome over the course of these last two Euro 2012 fixtures. Vaclav Pilar has two goals, and Petr Jiracek also has a pair of strikes. Up front, Milan Baros has been a bit quiet, but he has largely been by himself at the front of the pitch. The question in this match is going to be whether the Czech Republic captain, Tomas Rosicky is going to be able to get back in the fold. He missed what turned out to be the decisive 1-0 victory over Poland almost a week ago with an Achilles injury. Rosicky is up in the air for this one, but we tend to believe that he is going to be on the field either as a starter or a sub when push comes to shove.

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Czech Republic vs. Portugal Match Preview & Analysis: This is where the rubber meets the road for the Czechs. They did make it through the group stage, but there is a big difference between the teams on the slate in Group A and the one that is going to be on the other side of the field this time around. Portugal is one of the Top 15 teams in the world, and the only other time that the Czech Republic has met a team ranked in the Top 15 in this tournament, it was beaten 4-1. Yes, the Czechs are playing well now, but Ronaldo, Nani, and the likes are clearly going to be the best players on the pitch in this one. Don’t be all that shocked if Ronaldo bags a third goal in his last two matches, and if that turns out to be the difference maker in the first quarterfinal clash.

Czech Republic vs. Portugal Punting Tip: Portugal -0.5 (-130) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Czech Republic vs. Portugal Score Prediction: Czech Republic 0 – Portugal 1

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Euro 2012 Betting Tips: Who Will Win Greece vs. Russia Match?

Soccer Betting Tips for Euro 2012: Greeks To Push Hard & Earn Point, But Fail To Qualify Against Russians: The Greece Euro Cup 2012 campaign comes down to just this for the Greeks. They need to get three points to be able to get into the second round of this illustrious tournament. If not, it’s all over for the Greeks, and the Russians will be on their way to the quarters instead. Don’t be shocked if this turns out to be one of the best matches of the entire tournament here in Group A, as we know that the Polish neutral fans are going to be rooting to get rid of the Russians as quickly as possible from this tourney. Euro 2012 tips are our specialty here at Total Soccer Source, and we are making our footy predictions for the Greece vs. Russia match on Sunday afternoon!

The equation really is simple for these two Group A cohorts. Greece needs a win, and absolutely nothing else will do. Regardless of how that victory comes, it will be enough for the Greeks to get into the second round of this tournament, and it would put the Russians on the ropes. Russia would then need Poland and the Czech Republic to draw to be able to get into the second round. However, any other result would send the Russians into the knockout rounds and would send the Greeks back to their homeland after just three matches.

Greece vs. Russia Schedule and Match Information
Greece vs. Russia Match Date/Time: Sunday, June 16th, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Greece vs. Russia Stadium: National Stadium
Greece vs. Russia on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Greece vs. Russia Euro 2012!
Greece vs. Russia Match Odds: Russia -0.5 (-120)
Greece vs. Russia Betting Line Total: 2.5 (Over +100)

It is going to be a game for the record books if the Greeks end up pulling off this upset. Of course, it wouldn’t be anything like when the team got to the finale of Euro 2004 and ended up winning the tournament in Portugal against the host nation with a 1-0 result, but it would probably be the best thing that happened to this team since that point. We do have to give Greece all of the credit in the world, as the team really has played beyond its capabilities at times here in this tournament. The squad fell behind 1-0 against the hosts from Poland in the opening match, and it was down a man, only to see it finish a sparkling comeback to pull out a 1-1 draw. In the second fixture against the Czech Republic, the Greeks were down 2-0 right out of the blocks, yet they were able to claw back and make a match out of it. For a good chunk of the second half in both matches, they have been the aggressors, and it is clear that that team is going to have to be the one that is on the pitch on Saturday to be able to do well here in this match.

The “mighty” Russians haven’t always looked all that mighty in this tournament. The man that has been out of this world is Alan Dzagoev. He picked up a cheap yellow card for dissent in the last match that he was in against Poland, but he also has three goals to be in the lead in the chase for the Golden Boot. The match against the Poles really wasn’t good enough from our perspective, though. Andray Arshavin really didn’t have as good of a match as he did against the Czech Republic in the opening soiree of Euro 2012 betting action, and he just has a heck of a lot of work to be done to be able to get his team into the knockout rounds. The offense looked tired and disinterested to end the match against the hosts, and there was never really a good chance to take the three points in the match after the team blew the 1-0 lead.

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Greece vs. Russia Match Preview & Analysis: We really do like the organization and the heart that the Greeks play with each and every time out on the pitch. There is a reason that they went through qualification for this tournament without a defeat. They aren’t the best offensive team in the world, but they are gritty and have real potential each and every time out. As long as the Russian don’t totally underestimate this squad, there is no reason that they would be left out of the second round of the tournament. That being said, it might be quite nervy, as we think that any advantage that Russia gets in the opening 45-60 minutes or so will be wiped away at some point in the second half.

Greece vs. Russia Punting Tip: Greece +0.5 (+105) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Greece vs. Russia Score Prediction: Greece 1 – Russia 1

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

2012 Euro Cup Odds & Picks: Czech Republic vs. Poland Match Odds & Preview

Czech Republic vs. Poland Match Analysis: Czechs To Knock Poles Out of Euros: The Czech Republic and Poland are going to be battling it out on Saturday night at Stadion Miejski in Wroclaw, where one of these teams will likely get into the second round of Euro 2012, while the other will be knocked out for sure. Don’t miss our Czech Republic vs. Poland picks and tips for what should be one heck of a match.

The equation in this match is truly simple for both teams. Either team is going to be into the second round with a victory, and both would have a chance at winning the group. However, all eyes are going to be on that Russia/Greece match running concurrently. Should the Greeks win that match, a draw isn’t going to be good enough for either of these teams, and the end result should see both going for broke. That being said, if Greece doesn’t end up beating Russia, a draw would put the Czech Republic into the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 and would send the hosts packing.

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Czech Republic vs. Poland Schedule and Match Information
Czech Republic vs. Poland Match Date/Time: Saturday, June 16th, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Czech Republic vs. Poland Stadium: Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw
Czech Republic vs. Poland on TV: ESPN2, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Czech Republic vs. Poland Euro 2012!
Czech Republic vs. Poland Match Odds: Czech Republic -0.5 (+115)
Czech Republic vs. Poland Betting Line Total: 2.5 (Over +100)

The Czechs need to be quite careful here in this position. Remember the last time that this team was in a spot to be able to get into the quarterfinals of Euro 2012? The Czech Republic was up 2-0 against Turkey in a de facto knockout match for the two teams with a quarter of an hour left to play. Petr Cech allowed not just one or two, but three goals in the last 15 minutes of the match to see the Czechs out of the tournament. Of course, Cech hasn’t been stellar at all in this tournament. The one goal that Greece scored against him came on a massive miscommunication between he and his defense, and the game before that, the Czechs allowed a whopping four goals to Russia. The team that we saw come out of the blocks on fire against Greece, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes of the match was the one that we were expecting to see against Russia, though. The real question? Which one of these Czech teams will be the one to show up on Sunday?

This may as well be the World Cup Final for the Poles. They aren’t exactly a team rich in soccer tradition, and so many of their players at home and up playing in Germany with the Bundesliga as opposed to staying at home and playing in their own country’s struggling domestic league. So for a nation that really hasn’t had much to be proud of on the pitch, this is a chance for something special to happen. Three points will get Poland into the second round of this tournament, and you know that the team is going to do nothing but go for broke to make this happen. We have seen the Polish look remarkable over the course of this tournament at times, including in the first half against Greece and the second half against Russia. The result in both were 1-1 draws, something that won’t be good enough this time around. Look for Robert Lewandowski to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, as the young striker is the man that is going to have to break this game open for Poland at some point if it is to advance.

Czech Republic vs. Poland Match Preview & Analysis: For as excited as we think that the Poles are going to be to be in this fixture, we just don’t know if it is going to make all that much of a difference. We do think that they are going to come out with some gusto and get a strike relatively early, but eventually, class is going to end up showing. The Czechs just have a better team, and a better team by a comfortable margin. They’ll get the three points from this match and get into the knockout rounds, making amends for what was a disastrous end of Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.

Czech Republic vs. Poland Punting Tip: Czech Republic -0.5 (+115) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Czech Republic vs. Poland Score Prediction: Czech Republic 2 – Poland 1

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Euro 2012 Betting Tips: Who Will Win Poland vs. Russia Match?

Soccer Betting Tips for Euro 2012: Russians To Power Into Quarters: Russia is clearly the team that is sitting in the catbird seat right now as we head into the second match day of Group A action on the Euro 2012 odds. It is the only team in the group that has all three points at this point, and it can stamp a spot in the second round of this tournament with a win over a Polish team that is badly looking to pick up the pieces from an atrocious second half that the club endured in its opening match. Join us for our Russia vs. Poland predictions here at Total Soccer Source!

The big question that we have right now about the Polish is whether or not they really have the big time ability to keep up with some of the best teams in the world. It is clear that Greece isn’t the best team out there, and the fact of the matter is that the team nearly allowed not just one, but two goals to a suspect team that was short a man for the whole second half. This is going to be a significantly tougher task going against likely the most talented team in the group, presumably with 11 men for the entire 90 minutes.

Poland vs. Russia Schedule and Match Information
Poland vs. Russia Match Date/Time: Tuesday, June 12th, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Poland vs. Russia Stadium: National Stadium
Poland vs. Russia on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Poland vs. Russia Euro 2012!
Poland vs. Russia Match Odds: Russia pk (-150)
Poland vs. Russia Betting Line Total: 2.5 (Over +125)

The Russians were arguably the most impressive team in the first four days of this tournament, coming up with four goals with just one reply in a match that was always in their control against the Czech Republic. Alan Dzagoev was the hero of the fixture, scoring twice, and he is one of the three players in the tournament right now that has a pair of goals. Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko were the other goal scorers on the night in a game that was truly dominating. That being said, Russia did have some problems at the back, where the Czechs had their share of chances. One of them went in to at least provide a moment’s worth of doubt, but in the end, this was a match that was always in control and clearly resulted in the proper three points for the Russians.

Through 45 minutes, the Poles had to think that three points were in the bag. They clearly dominated the first half against Greece, getting a goal from Robert Lewandowski, who was the man of the match thanks to all of the chances that he set up. He really disappeared in the second half though, just as the rest of his teammates did on that end of the field. The defense was consistently shoddy, and Wojciech Szczesny ended up getting a red card for a brutal tackle to set up a PK. Przemyslaw Tyton did go on to make the save on the PK to salvage a point from the match, but now, he is going to have to be between the pipes for the full 90 minutes, as the Arsenal net minder is going to be forced to serve a suspension.

Poland vs. Russia Match Preview & Analysis: Will the real Polish team please stand up? In the end, we think that the second half team was the one that is more indicative of what we are going to see here against Russia. Remember that the Russians scored four times, and the man that was the real offensive catalyst four years ago in this tournament, Andray Arshavin didn’t even take part in the scoring. This is just too dangerous of a team from Russia to ignore right now. It’s going to be difficult to essentially play in this road fixture against the Poles, but the Russians will get the job done, get their three points, and be off to the quarterfinals.

Poland vs. Russia Punting Tip: Russia pk (-150) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Poland vs. Russia Score Prediction: Poland 1 – Russia 2

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

2012 Euro Cup Odds & Picks: Greece vs. Czech Republic Match Odds & Preview

Greece vs. Czech Republic Match Analysis: Greeks Cast Aside Doubt, Push Czechs To The Brink: The Czech Republic knows that it is in a heck of a lot of trouble right now, as we are set to begin the second match day in Group A play on the Euro 2012 schedule. On Tuesday afternoon, the Czechs are going to take on Greece, a team that was able to snare a point in the first fixture of this tournament to get started. The winner, if there is one, is going to control its own destiny going into the final fixtures of the group stages later this week.

If you had to give out grades from the first match, the Czechs and the Greeks would be separated by the ocean. Greece probably gets a B or so for taking a point away from the match against the host nation, Poland, while the Czech Republic clearly gets an F in a 4-1 loss, the worst defeat that any side took in the first match day of this tournament.

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Greece vs. Czech Republic Schedule and Match Information
Greece vs. Czech Republic Match Date/Time: Tuesday, June 12th, 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Greece vs. Czech Republic Stadium: Stadion Miejski
Greece vs. Czech Republic on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Greece vs. Czech Republic Euro 2012!
Greece vs. Czech Republic Match Odds: Czech Republic -0.5 (+120)
Greece vs. Czech Republic Betting Line Total: 2 (Over -120)

The Czechs were just a horrid disaster at the back against the Russians in their first match, and that’s why they are three points and three goals adrift in Group A going into the second set of fixtures. In the blink of an eye, Russia was up 2-0 in the match, as there were goals by Alan Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov in succession. The Czechs did strike back with a Vaclav Pilar goal in the 52nd minute, but in the end, there were just far too many opportunities allowed. Petr Cech has now had back to back disastrous matches in European Cup competition, allowing seven goals in his last roughly 105 minutes of action on the pitch. The time might be here that a new keeper might be in order, though it is hard to take a legend like Cech out of the lineup even if he is struggling mightily.

With some help, the Greeks can just about lock up a spot in the second round of the tournament if they can win this fixture. They were a totally different team in the second 45 minutes against Poland than they were in the first 45. That first half was a total disaster, as Sokratis Papastathopoulous was ejected with back to back yellow cards within 10 minutes of one another, resulting in a red. He won’t be playing in this one, but we have to think that one of the men that will is Dimitris Salpingidis, who came off of the bench and scored the game-tying goal and nearly generated the game-winner as well.

Greece vs. Czech Republic Match Preview & Analysis: After watching both the Greeks and the Czechs on the first match day of this tournament, we just don’t know if the heart is there for the Czechs. Greece really has a formidable team in this tourney, and it is going to want to make sure that it succeeds in this match, knowing that the pressure cooker with Russia is up next. After allowing the four goals to the Russians, we just don’t know if the Czechs are going to have this in them. We certainly want the half ball on our side, and we would even recommend taking the outright upset at 3 to 1 as well.

Greece vs. Czech Republic Punting Tip: Greece pk (-150) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Greece vs. Czech Republic Score Prediction: Greece 1 – Czech Republic 0

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Group A Euro Cup Odds: Russia vs. Czech Republic Predicted Results

Russia vs. Czech Republic Picks: Arshavin To Save The Day In Tight Match: Team Russia and Team Czech Republic should be involved in quite the interesting battle on the Euro 2012 betting lines in Group A action on Friday afternoon. Both of these teams have the ability to pour in goals in bunches, and as a result, we expect to see a fantastic fixture on the opening day of the tournament.

The edge is clearly going to start on the side of the Russians, who are expected to take all three points from this fixture. They are the favorites on the odds to win Group A in the Euro Cup, and they are the team that has the best history here in this tournament of late, being semifinalists in Euro 2008. Of course, the last time that we saw the Czechs in this tournament, Petr Cech was embarrassed by Turkey, a team that really had no business even getting into the quarterfinals of Euro 2008. The Turks came back from down 2-0 to win 3-2, a lead that was blown to bits in a span of less than 15 minutes of play. The Czechs are here for some payback, but they know that they are going to have an uphill battle, especially in this fixture.

Russia vs. Czech Republic Schedule and Match Information
Russia vs. Czech Republic Match Date/Time: Friday, June 8th, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Russia vs. Czech Republic Stadium: Stadion Miejski
Russia vs. Czech Republic on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Russia vs. Czech Republic Euro 2012!
Russia vs. Czech Republic Match Odds: Russia -0.5 (+120)
Russia vs. Czech Republic Betting Line Total: 2 (Over -105)

The question here is going to be whether the Czech Republic is going to be able to slow down the Russian attack or not. What we have seen in the past is that Cech is one of the best net minders in the world. There really is no doubt about that. However, he was starting to show some cracks in Euro 2008, and he wasn’t at his best this year, even when he was totally healthy with Chelsea, though he was the net minder that won the 2011-12 Champions League crown this year. Still, this is a team that really doesn’t have all that much of an identity, whereas we absolutely know that the Russians are going to be sending tons of men forward under the direction of Manager Dick Advocaat, a Dutchman that has the offensive mentality that the rest of his country has as well.

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What we have seen of late from the Russians, we definitely have liked. They went on the road and beat the Italians in dominating 3-0 fashion just a week ago, and that came on the heels of beating the Danes 2-0 in Copenhagen back in February. This was a team that was able to score a ton of goals in qualifying against the lesser teams that it faced, including dropping six on Andorra, three on Armenia, and three on Ireland.

Meanwhile, what we have seen from the Czech Republic hasn’t been nearly as appealing. The team had to fight to a playoff to take on Montenegro to reach this point, and since then, the team has only played two fixtures. Surprisingly, Hungary bounced the Czechs 2-1 in the final tune up for Euro 2012, and that came on the heels a 1-1 draw in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland.

Russia vs. Czech Republic Match Preview & Analysis: We are really surprised that the Russian are in a position where they are only +120 to win this match. We think that they are going to get the job done with Arshavin in the end, and we are going to see the Czechs choke away yet another fixture at the end to put them behind the 8-ball right away.

Russia vs. Czech Republic Punting Tip: Russia (6/5) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Russia vs. Czech Republic Score Prediction: Russia 2 – Czech Republic 1

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Czech Republic European Cup 2012: Euro 2012 Odds & Group A Predictions

Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky To Make One Last Stand For Czech Republic Euro 2012: In 1976, Czechoslovakia won the UEFA Euro Championship. Since that point, the team has had mixed reviews in this tournament, finishing as the runners up in 1996 and semifinalists in 2004. In 2000 and 2008 though, there were a number of failed attempts at getting out of the group stages. Now, the question is definitely worth asking whether the Czech Republic is finished being one of the European powers, a question that might be answered here at Euro 2012.

It took a win in a home-and-home UEFA Euro Cup playoff against Montenegro to get the Czechs into Euro 2012. Even that wasn’t the easiest task in the world, knowing that Montenegro is one of the up and coming soccer programs in Europe. A 3-0 victory over the course of the two matches though, proved to be more than enough to get the Czechs back into this tournament, though there is a real question as to whether or not the team is still going to have enough to get into the quarterfinals out of Group A, especially after getting clocked in the team’s last warm-up match for Euro 2012 in a 2-1 defeat at home against Hungary.

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Euro 2012 Schedule for Czech Republic
Friday June 8th: Russia vs. Czech Republic 2:45 p.m. (ET) (ESPN Deportes)
Tuesday, June 12th: Greece vs. Czech Republic 12:00 p.m. (ET) (ESPN)
Saturday, June 16th: Czech Republic vs. Poland 2:45 p.m. (ET) (ESPN2)

The big question is going to be the health of Tomas Rosicky. He has made the cut for the final team roster, and he is one of the most electric players that the Czech Republic has to offer. However, at 31 years old, especially off of the tremendously long and competitive year for Arsenal, Rosicky might have some troubles to face. The rest of this midfield just isn’t good enough to afford Rosicky not being in the fold, and it could all be bad news for the rest of the way for the Czechs if they don’t have one of their team leaders healthy.

Elsewhere offensively, there are definitely some stars, though those stars are aging quite a bit. Milan Baros is now 30 years old, and he is now out of the Premier League and playing at Galatarsaray. He has 40 career goals, the most for any Czech player, and he is going to be the man that has to make sure that he finds the back of the net for this team to get out of Group A.

But of course, in net, matters are a heck of a lot different. Petr Cech is one of the best net minders in the entire world, and he is going to be on display in this tournament for sure. The long-time Chelsea goalkeeper has 89 career appearances for his country, and he is going to be asked to carry the load in this tournament. Of course, the last time that we saw Cech in a European competition in 2008, he was allowing three fluky goals right at the end of regular time against Turkey that saw the Czechs booted out of the tournament in shocking fashion.

The schedule pans out well for the Czechs, as they are the last team that is going to have to take on Poland in Group A. Getting a point from Russia and three from Greece would be the ideal situation, and it is one that is entirely possible as long as Cech plays well in net. That being said, recent form has been suspect at best, as games against Ireland and Hungary just haven’t gone the way of the Czechs.

Czech Republic 2012 Euro Championship Tips & Euro 2012 Betting Odds: BetOnline Sportsbook is featuring the Czechs as the third choice on the board in Group A at +350. On top of that, the squad is one of the biggest underdogs on the board on the odds to win Euro 2012 at 60 to 1. We remain awfully concerned about Rosicky and the rest of the big players for this team, and if the defense isn’t going to be good enough to stop the Russians in that opening match, it could be a long, uphill battle just to get into the knockout round. Even if they do, the Czechs probably don’t stand much of a chance against Germany, Holland, or Portugal, all of which would be heavy favorites in this prospective quarterfinal matchup. Still, this is a nice price on a team that does have the talent, if it can get on a roll like Russia did four years ago, to make a lot of noise in this tourney.

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Euro Cup 2012 Tips & Predictions: Greece UEFA Euro 2012 Odds

UEFA Euro 2012 Predictions: Greece Euro Cup 2012 In Trouble: For the most part, the Greece soccer team has been a team that has been at the bottom of the rung in European soccer. Yes, the Greeks occasionally were able to win a few matches here and there and qualify for a few tournaments, but it wasn’t until 2004 that they came onto the scene in huge form. That year, they used what turned out to be a stifling defense to shock the world and win the European championship, but since that point, they haven’t had a heck of a lot to be proud of.

This isn’t nearly the first time that the Greeks have been in this tournament, but they had to know that they were given a gift of a draw in Group F for qualifying. Save for dealing with Israel, a team which Greece had no real troubles with, there shouldn’t have been a team to give the Sky Blue and Whites any trouble. That’s exactly what turned out to be the case, as they didn’t end up dropping all three points in a match in qualifying for this tournament. That being said, even though they were put into a relatively easy Group A, that doesn’t mean that there are all that many that think that the Greeks have a real chance of success on the Euro 2012 odds.

Greece Euro 2012 Schedule
Friday June 8th: Poland vs. Greece 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Tuesday, June 12th: Greece vs. Czech Republic 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Saturday, June 16th: Greece vs. Russia 2:45 p.m. (ET)

Once again, it is going to take a heck of a lot of defense and some timely goals to get the job done for Greece. This is what got the team all the way through Euro 2004, and it will be the same formula now. The problem is that there really is some major offensive firepower in Group A, not the least of which is the fact that the Galanolefki have to take on Poland in the opening match and Russia in the final match of the group stages. However, Portugal and others were stunned by the organization of this defense in 2004, and the possibility could be there for the same thing to happen once again.

The one thing that this Greece team absolutely has is a heck of a lot of experience. Giorgos Karagounis is one of the veteran players on this team, earning 116 games and eight goals for his country in international play. The problem though, is that Karagounis is 35 years old, and he is one of the many regulars that are going to be in the lineup that are 30+ years old. With that comes experience though, and Celtic’s Giorgos Samaras, Dimitris Salpingidis, Fanis Gekas, and Kostas Katsouranis are all players at least 50 caps playing in the front six or seven that Portugal’s Fernando Santos, the squad’s skipper, will throw out there. He used a ton of different combinations of lineups in qualifying for this event, and the Galanolefki will surely use a ton of their players here in Poland and Ukraine at Euro 2012 as well.

Even when the Greeks were on top of the world as the winners of Euro 2004, they never really were considered one of the premier sides in Europe. They never made it into the Top 10 in the world internationally, and they really haven’t lived up to their billing since that point. The team didn’t even qualify for the 2006 World Cup, and went out in the first round without a peep in the first round of Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. This is a chance to make amends, but it could also be a harsh reminder that this team has a long way to go to get to the top of the food chain in European soccer.

Greece 2012 Euro Championship Tips & Predictions: There is a reason that Greece is tied as the longest shot on the board on the odds to win Euro 2012 at BetOnline.com at 80 to 1. The squad is the bottom ranked team Group A as well at +400 to win the group and +150 to advance into the knockout rounds. We just don’t see this club getting out of this opening match with even a single point against Poland, and if that’s the case, the best that we could really see is just one point. In the end, it will be a very quiet tournament for a Greece team that is going to be out of the fold very quickly.

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

Euro 2012 Group A: Poland vs. Greece Tips, Predictions, & Picks

Euro 2012 Poland vs. Greece: Goals Could Be Limited In Euro 2012 Opening Match: Poland and Greece are two of the lowest ranked teams that are involved in Euro 2012, but they could put on a great defensive showcase when these two teams meet up in Group A action to start Euro 2012. Join us for our Poland vs. Greece picks and predictions for the opening match of the tournament!

The truth of the matter is that neither of these teams really have all that much they can count on offensively. Yes, both teams have stars that have played huge roles either domestically or for their country before, but in the end, both of these squads know that they aren’t going to be able to afford conceding all that many goals if they want to survive the first stage of this tournament.

Poland vs. Greece Schedule and Match Information
Poland vs. Greece Match Date/Time: Friday, June 8th, 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Poland vs. Greece Stadium: National Stadium
Poland vs. Greece on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes
Click Here to bet on Poland vs. Greece Euro 2012!
Poland vs. Greece Match Odds: Poland -0.5 (+100)
Poland vs. Greece Betting Line Total: 2 (Over +112)

For Greece, the man of the hour is clearly going to have to be Giorgios Karagounis. He is the man that scored the goal for the Greeks at the end of Euro 2004 to beat the Portuguese on their home turf, and he is going to be one of the only threats going forward that they have to offer in this tournament. There are definitely some veterans up front that have some potential, including the veteran of the team, Nikos Liberopoulos and Fanis Gekas. These two have a total of 34 goals for their country between them.

On the other side of the pitch though, all eyes are going to be on Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker is one of the top young offensive players in the world, though you probably don’t hear enough about him. He is going to be in line for a huge contract to play for a club team if he can figure out how to be huge in this tournament. One figures that Lewandowski is going to be the only man that has the abilities to create offense for the Whites and Reds in the opening match of this tournament.

Neither team really has been tested all that much of late, and when both have been tested, they haven’t performed all that well. The Greeks did win their most recent match against Armenia on the road 1-0 just a week ago, but prior to that, the defense had allowed at least one goal in six straight matches, all but one of which came against teams that didn’t even qualify for Euro 2012.

When you look back at what the Poles have accomplished of late, they have been fantastic defensively. However, they have only played friendly matches, and they have played the likes of Andorra, Slovakia, and Latvia, and all of the matches have been at home. Yes, there is a remotely impressive scoreless draw against Portugal to show for its work, but the only other match that Poland played leading up to this one of any tremendous competitive note was a 2-0 loss at Municipal Stadium Wroclaw against the Italians.

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Poland vs. Greece Match Preview & Analysis: In the end, we just don’t think that the Greeks are going to be able to score against a team that is going to be stout defensively. Could Poland end up sneaking in a goal? It’s quite possible. In the end though, we think if there is a goal, it is going to be the only goal of the match. In the end, we are expecting to see a nil-nil result, as there should be 90 minutes of relatively drab soccer with a lot of unsuccessful attempts at counterattacks.

Poland vs. Greece Punting Tip: Under 2 Goals (1/1) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Poland vs. Greece Score Prediction: Poland 0 –Greece 0

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured

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