Two big reasons why Poland can pip Russia to top Group A spot

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Russia may be worthy favourites to finish top of Group A, but the past record of host nations that fail to win their first game suggest that there is some value in backing Poland at 9/2.

The Russians looked more than fluent in attack in their opening game when thumping the Czech Republic 4-1 and can confirm themselves as group winners with a game to spare if also defeating Poland next.

It is 13/10 that Russia secure this victory, but a win for Poland will put them in prime position to progress to the knockout stages as group winners.

And the omens are good for a Poland success based on a few factors.

Firstly, the away team has never won any fixture between Poland and Russia, either in their current guise or in their former days of the USSR.

The home nation has won ten of these 14 meetings and Poland will benefit from home advantage this time through their position as host nation of Euro 2012.

Furthermore, historically a host that has failed to win their opening game of a European Championship has an uncanny knack of topping their group.

Germany in 1988, Sweden in 1992, England in 1996 and Portugal in 2004 all won their second and third group games after failing to win their opener and as a result progressed to the knockout rounds as group winners.

Poland are 11/5 to take the first step to becoming the next hosts to fit this trend by beating Russia.

In Poland’s favour is that they are unbeaten in seven games, a run which includes five victories, while in Robert Lewandowski they have an emphatically in-form striker.

Lewandowski has scored seven times in his last five appearances for club Borussia Dortmund and country and it is 2/1 that he finds the target at any time in the 90 minutes against Russia.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.