When and where: The Euro 2012 Group A encounter kicks-off at the Stadion Miejski in Wroclaw at 2.45 p.m. ET. TV coverage will be provided by ESPN, with a live stream available on ESPN3.

Preview: While on paper the weakest of the four sections, Group A of Euro 2012 is also arguably the most open. Consequently both Russia and the Czech Republic go into their opening match on Friday with optimism for a victory that would put them in a strong position to make the quarter-finals.

After topping their group in qualifying, it will be Russia who begin the match as favorites. Dutch coach Dick Advocaat is expected to largely keep faith with the players who brought the country to the finals.

Russia is led by captain Andrey Arshavin, who will be expected to provide the creative inspiration for the side. Another potential star is Zenit St Petersburg's Roman Shirokov. Once a center-back, he is now fully established as a playmaker in Russia's midfield and the 30-year-old hit five goals in the Champions League last season.

Alexander Kerzhakov is expected to get the nod ahead of Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak in the lone striking role.

The Czech Republic, meanwhile, will continue to rely on the backbone of the side that has served them well for much of the past decade. Coach Michal Bilek will be hoping that Petr Cech can replicate the superb form that helped Chelsea to claim the Champions League title at the end of last season. While, going forward, much reliance will be on the creativity of Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky and Euro 2004 top scorer Milan Baros.

The key selection dilemma for Bilek looks to be in midfield. Experienced anchorman Tomas Hubschman and Petr Jiracek formed a solid core at the base of the midfield. But, Bilek's selections in recent friendlies suggest that Bordeaux's Jaroslav Plasil will come back from his more attacking role to lineup alongside Jiracek in the center to add more fluidity.

 Russia (probable, 4-3-2-1)

G: Akinfeev

D: Anyukov, Berezoutski, Ignashevitch, Zhirkov

M: Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov

Dzagoev, Arshavin

F: Kerzhakov

Czech Republic (probable, 4-2-3-1)

G: Cech

D: Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky

M: Jiracek, Plasil

Rezek, Rosicky, Pilar

F: Baros

Prediction: While neither team is fancied to make a serious challenge for this European Championship, both Russia and the Czech Republic could be a surprise package if they can get up an early head of steam. It is the Russians, though, that have the greater quality where it counts and if their key players are on form should have just too much for the Czechs.

Russia 2-1 Czech Republic