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By TOM BENNETT
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - The Euro 2012 future of both teams will be at stake Saturday when Greece meet Russia in Warsaw in the final round of games in Group A.
The two countries have met four times previously at the Euros - including in the group stage of the last two tournaments - with Russia winning all four matches. However, 2004 champions Greece know a victory over the group leaders would see them through into the knockout stages.
With just one point from two matches, a win in Warsaw would see Fernando Santos' side draw level with the Russians and go through at the expense of either Saturday's opponents or the Czechs - depending on the other result.
"It's a final for both of us," said Santos. "We are going after one result; our rivals can go through with a draw.
"My faith in my team is total. It's the same faith I had back in the autumn after our draw in Latvia. Back then it was tense and we needed a victory against Croatia to have any chance of qualifying. I believed in that team, I said so, and afterwards I was vindicated. I am saying the same now. We must take all our passion onto the pitch and I am sure we will make the Greek fans happy."
One way to make their fan base happy would be to play with a lead, something they've yet to do. Greece have started on the back foot in both matches and trailed the Czechs 2-0 just six minutes into Tuesday's match, but Panis Gekas pulled one back in the 53rd minute.
Santos has hammered home the need for a strong start with so much at stake.
"Our preparation has been spot on and the players are motivated. However, we have ended up chasing games. We managed to equalise in our first match, but could not do the same against the Czech Republic.
"The only thing I can do is point out the mistakes to the players, but they are perfectly aware. I am sure that they will show more intensity in the next match and everything will go fine.
"I am considering some changes to the line-up as I am looking for quick thinking when in possession and pressure when we're not. We will evaluate our players and their form, as some have played 180 minutes so far and we'll decide from there."
Greece are without Kostas Chalkias (hamstring) and Avraam Papadopoulos (knee), but Giorgos Fotakis should be fit after a thigh problem. Centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns from his one-game ban after being sent off in the opening game of the tournament.
Russia may still go through with a defeat, but a draw would guarantee their progress to the latter stages. However, after manager Dick Advocaat stated that Russia have played the best football at the tournament so far, the Group A leaders failed to confirm their place in the round of eight after being held to a 1-1 draw with co-hosts Poland on Tuesday.
"I think judging by how the game developed, we dropped two points," admitted Russia goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev. "We couldn't hold the advantage, as Poland pushed for a goal right after we'd scored, with their home advantage.
"I don't think they had an impressive game and we could have gone on and won the match. I think it's always difficult to play in such an atmosphere. They counterattacked well, while on many occasions we weren't as quick as we'd like. We played better and faster against the Czechs."
Alan Dzagoev netted his third goal, tying him with Germany's Mario Gomez and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic for the tournament lead, and Andrey Arshavin leads all players with three assists.
Russia will hold a late fitness test for goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who has yet to play due to a knee injury, and defender Yuri Zhirkov is trying to shake off a knee injury suffered in Tuesday's draw.
The other two teams in Group A are the Czech Republic and Poland, who meet in Wroclaw at the same time Saturday night.
All four teams can still advance, although the permutations are complicated. A win by either Poland or the Czechs would see either into the quarters with Russia or Greece, depending on the result in Warsaw. A draw in Wroclaw would see the Czechs through if Russia win or draw, but Poland would advance with a victory by Greece.
Updated June 14, 2012