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KIEV, December 3 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s national soccer squad on Friday learned their rivals in the group phase of the Europe-2012 Cup. They are Poland, the Czech Republic and Greece (Group A).
First, Russia will play vs the Czech Republic on June 8, then confront Poland on June 12, and lastly, with Greece on June 16.
With Poland Russia played 17 times, including 14 matches in the Soviet era. For the first time ever Russia and Poland played in 1957 in the 1958 World Cup selection round. The USSR then won 3:0 at home and then lost the return match 1:2. It is worth recalling that the Soviet Union and Poland then collected an equal number of points and to determine the winner an extra match had to be played on a neutral pitch, in Leipzig. The Soviet Union then beat Poland by two goals to nothing. In all, the USSR has to its credit eight wins. Three matches were lost and three ended in a draw. Russia and Poland have played three friendly matches - a 2:0 victory for Russia and a 2:2 draw in Moscow (in 1996 and 2007 respectively) and a 1:3 loss in Chorzow in 1998.
Russia and Greece have played 21 times. Russia had 13 wins, five draws and three losses. It is noteworthy that at the latest two European cups Russia and Greece were in the same group and Russia emerged the winner both times - 2:1 in 2004 and 1:0 in 2008. Last time the teams played just recently. On November 11 they met in a friendly encounter in Piraeus with a 1:1 outcome.
The Czech Republic is a more or less comfortable rival for the Russian team. Of the 15 matches 14 were played back in Soviet era between the USSR and Czechoslovakia. Russia, too, has an advantage – seven wins against three losses and four draws. Russia and the Czech Republic clashed in the Euro-1996 Cup in the group phase two score thrice each. Russia failed to qualify for the play-offs, though, while the Czech Republic won the silver.