Tomas Rosicky leads the reasons why you would be smart to tune in tonight. Group A matches are less anticipated as Groups B, C, and D of Euro 2012 steal the interest of most viewers. However Group A is where the future of European football exists as Poland, Czech Republic and Russia have a group of young and experienced footballers who are looking to steal the spotlight and become the unexpected winners this summer.
From Manchester United to Arsenal to German champions Borussia Dortmund, Group A is where these top European clubs have their stars facing off against one another for their national side.
Here is a comprehensive list of the Top 5 reasons those who want to see cut-throat action this summer should be following Group A.
It seems Arsenal players will be the dominating faces in the Euro 2012. Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky will be accompanied in Group A by club teammates Wojciech Szczesny (Poland) and Andrey Arshavin (Russia).
Rosicky had a breakout season for the Gunners as the club's loss of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas was the Czech's gain. He was a prominent face in the midfield and scored two goals and made six assists in 38 appearances in all competitions. Rosicky was rewarded for his impressive form with a fresh new contract.
The playmaker will captain Czech Republic today. Per The Globe and Mail, Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek said, “Tomas is a key player for the team. All his teammates know that he’s the one to make the difference.”
According to Thisislondon.co.uk Wojciech Szczesny said, “I’ll be drinking champagne in Kiev [on July 1st]. My ambition is to win the European Championship.” Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper, Szczesny believes as hosts Poland have the advantage to surprise the Euro 2012 favourites and win the cup.
The Polish keeper will be on pitch to kickoff the much-anticipated tournament this afternoon as Poland take on Greece at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland.
Szczesny was part of Poland's Euro 2008 squad but sat on the bench the entire tournament. But this year he has been chosen as Poland's No. 1.
Although to many Szczesny may be the most well-known face in the Polish national team, he is certainly accompanied by a great number of talent from all over Europe.
Szczesny said, per Thisislondon.co.uk:
At previous big tournaments, in fact all those we’ve participated in during the 21st century, we’ve lacked players performing at the highest level for Europe’s biggest clubs.
That’s no longer the case. No one can tell me that Borussia Dortmund isn’t one of Europe’s top sides, and three Polish players have been key to their recent successes. With such gifted individuals we have the chance to achieve something more than our predecessors did.
And it’s not just the boys from Borussia. I haven’t watched much of the Polish League in recent times and I didn’t realize that we had so many talented players at the moment.
Manchester United fans everywhere will be watching club target Robert Lewandowski as he plays for Poland in the opening match of the Euro 2012 today.
The Borussia Dortmund striker scored an unbelievable 30 goals in 46 appearances for the Germain club this season.
The Polish international will be one of the forwards to watch this June as he will be giving forwards Robin van Persie and Mario Gomez a run for the golden boot award.
The relatively unknown 23-year-old will be shot into the spotlight this summer and next season as he could become the surprise star striker of Europe in this second half of 2012.
Russia has been dubbed as the "dark horse" of the tournament.
Many forget that at the 2008 Euros Russia had made it to the semi-finals only to lose (4-1) against Spain. Considering the 2012 Group A will be considerably easier to come out from we can expect Russia to make it to the Quarter-Finals. However considering the winner's of Group A are likely to play the winners of the "Group of Death" (Group B), they may not reach the semi-finals.
Russia will be captained by 30-year-old Arsenal striker Andrei Arshavin. The want-away Gunner has had a difficult season where he didn't receive enough first-team football and manager Arsene Wenger refused to extend his contract for more than a year. These circumstances led Arshavin to be loaned back to his former club Zenit St. Petersburg. He later won the Russian Premier League with Zenit. Arshavin will appreciate his own decision to move back to Russia last season as the national squad consists of players mostly from the Russian Premier League.
Russia will be adopting a 4-3-3 formation with a loan center forward (Aleksandr Kerzhakov) and two wingers (Arshavin and Roman Shirokov) to cut through defence.
Russian coach Dick Advocaat (via. uefa.com) "We have a good team, we have the quality, and it is very important that the players start believing in that. So, yes, if we have the form and everything is going the right way, we have a very dangerous team. Arshavin is a player of moments - he can score out of nothing, and you don't have too many of that kind of player in the world."
The star to look forward to is Zenit St. Petersburg's Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
The 29-year-old striker is at his career high after a great season with Zenit. The Russian scored 24 goals this season and made six assists in all competitions.
Expect his speed to cut through any line of defence. The former Sevilla player will be Russia's choice forward this summer alongside Zenit St. Petersburg strike partner Roman Shirokov. Anticipate his name to make it to the headlines tonight.
Another player to monitor this summer is the young attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev.
In 2009, ESPN named Dzagoev as one of the youngsters to watch alongside France's Yoann Gourcuff and Spain's Sergio Busquets.
The 21-year-old CSKA Moscow player scored six goals in 48 appearances in all competitions this season (including four in the Champions League). He also scored four goals in 20 appearances for his national team, all in Euro 2012 qualifying matches. Expect him to do the same for his nation this coming week.