Euro 2012 Schedule: Complete Guide to This Weekend's Group Stage Action
Euro 2012 is only two days away, and to be honest I can't wait.
We get the ball rolling this weekend with some gripping match-ups that should keep viewers firmly locked on the edge of their seats.
No matter what team you support, the Euro is a cause for celebration and should be treated as such.
Grab some buddies, food, and a comfy couch and allow yourself to be awed by the dazzling spectacle that only comes around once every four years.
Here is the complete guide to this weekend's group stage action. Make sure you don't miss it.
Poland vs. Greece
When: Friday, June 8 at 12 PM EST
Where: National Stadium Warsaw
The atmosphere at the National Stadium in Warsaw is sure to be rocking for the opening match of the tournament.
Poland's captain, Jakub Błaszczykowski (what a name!) will hope that his side can get the all important first goal of the tie and further amplify noise levels within the stadium.
Don't expect Greece to just roll over and die, however.
This experienced side know that an early goal for them would silence the crowd and provide a platform for a crucial victory.
Russia vs. Czech Republic
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When: Friday, June 8 at 2:45 PM EST
Where: Municipal Stadium Wroclaw
The other match in Group A sees Russia pitted against the Czech Republic.
Russia performed well in 2008, making it to the semifinals, while the Czechs bowed out of the group stage after suffering a shocking defeat to Turkey.
Ranked No. 11 and No. 26 respectively in the FIFA World Rankings, Russia should have the upper hand against the Czechs in a contest that will be full of heart and desire.
Both sides will want to get off the the best possible start, so we can expect to see a fast-paced, free-flowing football match.
Netherlands vs. Denmark
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When: Saturday, June 9 at 12:00 PM EST
Where: Metalist Stadium
The Dutch and the Danes kick things off in Ukraine in a match Holland should dominate if all goes according to plan.
Denmark will want revenge for the 2010 World Cup game that saw the Netherlands escape with a 2-0 victory, but they're going to have to work hard for it.
The Danish do, however, have starlet Christian Eriksen in their ranks, who is tipped to have a breakout tournament at this summer's Euro.
With all the makings of a scintillating tie, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top this time around.
Germany vs. Portugal
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When: Saturday, June 9 at 2:45 PM EST
Where: Arena Lviv
Oh, now it's getting good. Germany vs. Portugal provides viewers with the first real clash between two of Europe's top sides.
Germany have high hopes of winning the cup, after coming oh so close in 2008.
Portugal, on the other hand, narrowly maneuvered their way through qualification but with Cristiano Ronaldo on the team anything is possible.
It will be a feisty occasion in Lviv come Saturday, and neither team will want to begin their Euro 2012 campaign with a loss.
Spain vs. Italy
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When: Sunday, June 10 at 12:00 PM EST
Where: Arena Gdansk
It gets even better! These two European giants are gearing up to go head to head in their opening match in a game that will certainly be one of the highlights of the group stage.
Spain, yet again have to be considered favorites not only to win this match, but the whole tournament.
With the majority of the 2010 World Cup winning squad returning to seek further glory in Kiev come July 1, Italy will look to put a halt to the feel-good factor resonating within the Spanish camp.
The Italians however, are coming off their latest match-fixing scandal and officials seriously considered pulling them out of this year's tournament.
Thankfully they were given the all clear, and in turn football fans will be given a match for the ages.
Ireland vs. Croatia
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When: Sunday, June 10 at 2:45 PM EST
Where: Municipal Stadium Poznan
The sixth and final match of the weekend is between Group C rivals Ireland and Croatia.
While neither side is tipped to progress from the group stage, both have shown that they can provide a hard-nosed defensive performance when required.
This is Ireland's first major international tournament since the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, and Croatia were unlucky not to go further in Euro 2008 losing to Turkey 3-1 on penalties.
Both sides will be eager to win this match, as tougher tests against Spain and Italy await.