Euro 2012, Group A, Tuesday, Warsaw, 7.45pm
PUNTERS will be rushing to back Russia tonight after their impressive opener against Czech Republic.
It was a superb show by Dick Advocaat's side who are on the verge of a quarter-final place.
The Russians used a mixture of panache and power but there is no question the Czechs were poor and along with the Irish are possibly the weakest of the 16 qualifiers.
Poalnd started well against Greece but ottom line is they draw 1-1. That was with the backing of a passionate home support, with the benefit of an early goal and with a man advantage for part of the game while leading 1-0.
So if the can't beat the Greeks I can't see how they can fare better against Russia even though there is a bit of history between the nations.
Star of the show for Advocaat against the Czechs was 21-year-old Alan Dzagoev who outshone hitman Aleksandr Kerzakhov with two goals.
Dzagoev was immediately cut from 100-1 to 10-1 for the Golden Boot and after the first round of matches is 9-1 to be tournament top scorer.
Advocaat has no injury problems but must decide whether to keep faith with the misfiring but classy Kerzakhov and reward Roman Pavyluchenko who came on to net a late fourth.
Kerzakhov is 13-2 at Paddy Power to score first with possible replacement Pavyluchenko 8-1 with Stan James.
I've seen Roman Shirikov being tipped today and he is 11-1 at BetVictor and bet365 to score first and 15-4 at bet365 to net at any time. He was the other Russian on target against the Czechs and certainly posed a threat.
Advocaat's men were so good going forward on day one that you can see them at least scoring two goals. They are 15-8 with William Hill in the race to two goals.
Russia race to 2 goals
(15-8, William Hill)
Dzagoev to score