Match Previews: June 8

The long wait is finally over and Euro 2012 is starting. There are two matches in Group A on Friday.

Poland vs. Greece in Warsaw

The first game of the tournament kicks off in the Polish capital as the host nation plays the 2004 European Champions Greece. Poland has yet to concede a goal in four friendlies in 2012. Greece also has a stingy defense that gave up five goals in ten qualifying matches.

Players to watch

Robert Lewandowski- The Poland striker is coming off a 30-goal campaign at Borussia Dortmund. The Poles will rely on Lewandowski for a few goals this tournament and a tally in the opening match would be a perfect time to open his account.

Giorgos Karagounis- The Greek midfielder has 117 caps and is one of the only remaining players from the 2004 team. In a first match on a big stage, Karagounis will need to show his experience and lead the Greek to a smooth start in a hostile atmosphere.

Prediction: Poland 1, Greece 0

Russia vs. Czech Republic in Wroclaw

A big opening match for both teams. In a wide open group, three points can make a statement. On a sidenote, Englishman Howard Webb will be the referee.

Players to watch

Andrei Arshavin- The Russian attacker has a lot to prove to Europe after his struggles at Arsenal. The breakout star of Euro 2008 played the last four months on loan in Russia to improve his form. He must be instrumental with whichever other forward he is paired with.

Milan Baros- Tomas Rosicky is still an injury doubt and even if he does play he might not be effective. The former Liverpool striker Baros has scored some goals in friendlies and is an experienced player to lead the line.

Prediction: Russia 1, Czech Republic 1


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