Despite picking up just one point from their first two games, Greece can still make it to the quarter-finals, but for that to happen they either need a three-goal margin victory over Russia or a narrow win and a draw between Czech Republic and Poland.
The Russians are in a great position at the moment seeing they only need one point to go through, while even a narrow defeat takes them to the next stage.
Greece arrived to the European Championship as one of the major underdogs, not only because they were disappointing in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, but because they tend to flop at major tournaments.
The predictions proved spot on as Ethniki could take just one point from their first two games, in spite of the fact they had been placed into the easiest group at the Euro 2012.
The promising draw against co-hosts Poland was followed by the disappointing defeat to Czech Republic and now the odds are stack firmly against Fernando Santos’ side.
With goal difference the decider, Greece are still in contention for a place in the quarter-finals, but with the comfortable win over Russia looking a mission impossible, the only somewhat realistic scenario to qualify is to beat Russia and hope the other group game ends in draw.
Even with Stan James paying 5.50 (9/2) on Greece to qualify, there is really no value in those odds considering the circumstances.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns to the side from suspension, but Avram Papadopoulos has been ruled out.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-2-1): Chalkias – Torosidis, K. Papadopoulos, Papastathopoulos, Holebas – Katsouranis, Maniatis, Karagounis – Salpingidis, Fortounis – Samaras.
Russia have done well to come on the verge of qualifying by taking four points from their first two games, although they had the chance to book their place in the quarter-finals even ahead of the final group games.
Dick Advocaat’s side dominated their clash against co-hosts Poland and took the lead through Alan Dzagoev, but had to settle for one point after Kuba Blaszczykowski scored a wonderful goal to level the score.
Even so, Russia are hot favourites to go trough and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they beat average Greece side. 188BET pays 1.77 (7/9) should that happen.
Dick Advocaat has absolutely no injury worries at the moment, but he is expected to make some changes to the starting line-up, nevertheless.
Alexander Kerzhakov could be benched following yet another disappointing performance, but Andrei Arshavin looks set to start even though he is clearly in need of rest.
Vyacheslav Malafeev is set to continue between the sticks after yet another impressive showing, while Marat Izmailov could replace Euro 2012 top scorer Alan Dzagoev.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-2-1): Malafeev – Anyukov, A. Berezutski, Ignashevich, Zhirkov – Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov – Arshavin, Izmailov – Pavlyuchenko.