Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Uefa Euro Championships 2016

Fernando Santos © Reuters Images

Greeks, Czechs face defensive woes



Greece and the Czech Republic have defensive problems ahead of their Uefa Euro 2012™ clash in Group A on Tuesday with the Greeks missing their first-choice central defence and the Czechs desperate to plug a leaky back line.

Greek coach Fernando Santos must find replacements for Avraam Papadopoulos, who is out of the tournament with a knee injury, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos who is suspended after being harshly dismissed against Poland in the Group A opener.

The pair anchored a defence that conceded only five goals in qualifying and Santos will likely pair veteran midfielder Costas Katsouranis with 20-year old Kyriakos Papadopoulos who came on for his namesake in the 1-1 draw against the co-hosts.

The Czechs have defensive issues as well but their problems are mostly of their own making after Russia ran riot in a 4-1 victory on Friday, mainly due to glaring mistakes at the back.

Czech coach Michal Bilek might be tempted to move Michal Kadlec back to central defence from the left side and bring in David Limbersky, while defensive midfielder Tomas Hubschman could also start the game to reinforce the rearguard.

Despite their terrible start to the tournament, Czech defender Roman Hubnik said the difficulty they had qualifying for the finals after a playoff with Montenegro will help them deal with the pressure against Greece in Wroclaw.

UNDER PRESSURE

"If we lose our chances are gone," Hubnik said. "The pressure for this game will be higher than the pressure in our (final group) game against Russia."

While defending is a worry, both teams also need to find their scoring touch with Greece having netted just 14 times in 10 qualifying matches, the lowest tally among the finalists.

The Czechs rely on Milan Baros but the Euro 2004 Golden Boot winner has scored just three times in the past two years for his country and looked isolated with little support against Russia.

The Czechs have been boosted by the fact that striker Baros and captain Tomas Rosicky have finally overcome their injury problems but they must still find a way to break down the Greece defence, which they have failed to do in their last four games.

The Czechs, who have not beaten Greece in 30 years since a 2-1 win in a friendly in March 1982, also have extra motivation against the side that beat them in the Euro 2004 semifinals.

Poland play group favourites Russia in Warsaw's National Stadium in the second Group A game on Tuesday.



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
Are women refs better than men?
This coming weekend (4th and 5th July 2015) will see the final of two major soccer competitions in...

Sunday Oliseh
Cech just what the Dr ordered
Arsenal have been a bit lightweight in the goalkeeping department since the departure of Jens...

Neil Tovey
Why I answered Safa’s call
I am pleased to have agreed to a deal in principle to serve as Safa’s technical director for the...

Carol Radull
Why Harambee Stars won't go far
So, Harambee Stars lost 2-0 to Ethiopia in our Chan qualifier match on Sunday. What’s so surprising...

Clyde Tlou
Time for SA legends to step forward
A lack of ambition is hampering the South African 1996 Africa Cup of Nations legends.

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Barcelona triumph
Over the weekend FC Barcelona of Spain won their sixth Uefa Champions League trophy and their...