Russia made the best possible start to their Group A campaign with a comprehensive 4-1 defeat of the Czech Republic.
The Russian’s are now unbeaten in 15 games, a record stretching back to February 2011 and whilst the Czech Republic gave themselves a glimmer of hope by reducing the deficit to 2-1, the 13th ranked team in the World always looked the likely victors.
Two goals ahead at the break Russia looked to be coasting after strikes from Alan Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov.
But the Czech Republic, who lost more qualifying matches (three) than any other side that qualified for Euro 2012, scored shortly after the break as Vaclav Pilar sidestepped the advancing keeper to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
This goal gave the Czech’s hope and for a few moments looked capable of finding a leveller but the team who scored the fewest goals in qualifying failed to seize the initiative and Russia simply stepped up a gear with two goals in the closing minutes.
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)
Venue: Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw
Russia scorers: Dzagoev 15, 79, Shirokov 24, Pavlyuchenko 81
Czech Republic scorers: Pilar 52