|Scoreboard|||||Match Schedule|||||Standings|||||Teams|||||Player Leaders|
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Russia can book their passage into the knockout rounds of the European Championship with a victory Tuesday when they meet co-host nation Poland in Warsaw.
Dick Advocaat's side put on one of the class displays of the opening round of fixtures with a 4-1 trashing of the Czech Republic last Friday in Wroclaw. Alan Dzagoev scored twice and Roman Shirokov and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko also found the target for the Russians, who are unbeaten in 15 matches and sit atop Group A with three points.
A victory will clinch a spot in the quarter-finals and give Russia top spot in the group if the earlier match between Greece and the Czechs ends in a draw.
"The task is not completed yet and we cannot afford to take it easy," Pavlyuchenko warned. "We expect harder games to come."
Poland will be without suspended goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, whose red card in the second half of Friday's 1-1 draw with the Greece means that Przemyslaw Tyton will get the start. Tyton became a national hero and earned a huge ovation for his penalty save on Giorgos Karagounis that helped the Poles earn a valuable point in the tournament's opening match in Warsaw.
"It was nice that they recognized me," Tyton said. "I'm particularly happy because my whole family was at the match and for the first time my mom saw me play live."
Although Poland were happy with the point, they were left lamenting a poor second half after entering the break up a goal with the Greeks down to 10 men.
"I can tell you we were very well prepared but we were under great pressure, great stress, and I think it was a big burden for this very young team who have not played in a big tournament before," coach Franciszek Smuda said.
While striker Robert Lewandowski, midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski and defender Lukasz Piszczek demonstrated great potency in the first match after leading Borussia Dortmund to their second straight German Bundesliga title, the rest of the Poles looked flat and uninspired - particularly in the second half.
Their mood is in stark contrast to the Russians after their flying start to the tournament with a result that was the opposite of a 4-1 opening defeat to Spain in Euro 2008. Russia recovered to make the semi-finals four years ago, but this time are in pole position thanks to chemistry among seven players from Zenit St. Petersburg
"Most of this team has played a lot together and been successful together," Advocaat said.
Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin displayed smooth link-up play with Shirokov and Konstantin Zyryanov in the opener as Russia looked fluid throughout.
The only concern was striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov's inability to finish. Advocaat does not sound as if he will turn to Pavlyuchenko or Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak instead.
"I would pick Kerzhakov again," the Dutchman said. "I thought he played very good football, but he forgot to score."
Poland have never won a match at the Euros, but can take solace in winning their lone home match with Russia 3-1 in 1998 in a friendly in Chorzow. The Poles cannot be eliminated Tuesday.
"The tournament is still open," Smuda said. "We have two matches ahead of us."
Updated June 10, 2012