Top Players: Petr Cech (Chelsea; Goalie): One of the top-5 goalies in Europe, Cech will add maturity and more confidence to an already strong backline.
Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal; Midfield): The 31 year old is on the downside of his career but he is still the best playmaker in the young Czech squad. The offense will depend on his passes and creativity to score.
Style of Play: Very young and defensive.
Projected Standings: 2nd place; 4 pts. (Win-Greece; Tie-Poland; Loss-Russia)
Notes: They will have trouble scoring many goals, however not playing any of the cup’s favorites will allow them to come second in the group.
Top Players: Georgios Samaras (Celtic; Striker): The 27 year will contribute his scoring abilities to Greece’s counter-attack system. Greece will have few scoring opportunities so Samaras will have the pressure to take advantage of these.
Style of Play: Very defensive and depends on quick counter-attacks.
Projected Standings: 4th place; 2 pts. (Loss-Czech Republic; Tie-Poland; Tie-Russia)
Notes: The 2004 Cinderella story champs will play in the weakest group but the best they will do is gain the quickest ticket to Greece. Yes, they were undefeated in the qualifiers but a strong offense is essential to victories and that is what this team lacks the most.
Top Players: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund; Striker): The Dortmund star is the best player in the Polish star and one of the top strikers in the Euro Cup. His quick scoring abilities will allow to fight for the 2nd place against Czech Republic but the rest of his team is too weak and not enough to accomplish that.
Style of Play:Use of speed and strenght; unbalanced.
Projected Standings: 3rd place; 2 pts. (Tie-Greece; Tie-Czech Republic; Loss-Russia)
Notes: Although playing at home with all the crowd’s support, Poland’s quality will not be strong enough to come out of the group alive. Their best player will be the crowd; but realistically, if it wasn’t for their status as host, they would not be in the EURO Cup.
Top Players: Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal;Striker): The versatile forward will lead the Russian offense to great speed and many goals in a weak group. Look at Arshavin to have various assists and one or two goals in the group stage.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Zenit; Striker): The experienced striker will fight for a starting position against Roman Pavlyuchenko, but when given playing time, he will drop back occasionally to the midfield. The quick forward will contribute with two or three goals in the group stage.
Style of Play: A balanced team with a dynamic offense.
Projected Standings: 1st place; 7 pts. (Tie-Greece; Win-Czech Republic; Win-Poland)
Notes: Russia is a team that will play with mostly Russian league players, but this should not serve to detriment their success as that league has improved in recent years. Their greatest strenght is its offense, and by possessing the best forwards in the groups, Russia will score more goals than its rivals thus earning first place.
Summary: Russia will take the group having the best offense; Czech Republic will squeeze into second with its strong defense; Poland does not have enough talent to live past the first round even in front of its crowd taking 3rd place; and Greece has a great defense and a good counter-attack but its poor scoring opportunities will leave them in last place of the weakest Euro Cup group.