Greece’s injury-ravaged squad have another yet another casualty in the form of Kostas Chalkias, who limped out of his side’s 2-1 loss to Czech Republic mid-way through the first half. The PAOK goalkeeper was replaced by Michalis Sifakis on Tuesday, but Alexandros Tzorvas could also be in contention to stand in for the 38-year-old.
However, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who is available again after missing the Czech clash through suspension, should line up at the heart of defence alongside Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who will continue to deputise for his injured namesake Avraam.
His return will allow Giannis Maniatis to move back into midfield at the expense of Giorgos Fotakis, who failed to impress on Tuesday. Up front, Dimitris Salpingidis and Theofanis Gekas should be assured of starts after scoring in the first two matches, but Georgios Samaras will need to see off competition from Sotiris Ninis to secure a spot on the wing.
Russia, by contrast, could be set to stick to the same starting XI that earned them a convincing victory against Czech Republic on matchday one and a credible draw against Poland on matchday two.
Vyacheslav Malafeev should keep his place ahead of Igor Akinfeev in goal, but there are question marks over who will start up front. Aleksandr Kerzhakov has been in poor form at the tournament thus far, and will have to compete with Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Meanwhile, Alan Dzagoev and Igor Denisov could be left out to stave off the risk of both players getting an unwanted suspension ahead of the knockout stages after the duo picked up a booking in their clash with Poland.
DID YOU KNOW ?
- Greece, should they fail to beat Russia, would be eliminated at the group stage for the third consecutive major tournament.
- Additionally, they have won just one match at a summer finals since their unlikely Euro 2004 triumph over Portugal – a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the 2010 World Cup.
- Russia overcame Greece in the group stage of both Euro 2004 and Euro 2008, and also beat the Ethniki twice in qualifying for Euro 1996.
- Russia can seal their progression to the knockout stages for the second consecutive edition of the competition. Russia had failed to qualify from the group stage in ’92, ’96 and ’94, and failed to make the finals in 2000.
- Furthermore, the former Soviet Union national team were victorious in nine of their 11 meetings with Greece.
- At just 21 years of age, Alan Dzagoev is the youngest goalscorer at Euro 2012 thus far.