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Euro 2012 Special: Matchday One- Poland vs Greece

Saturday, June 9, 2012

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Poland vs Greece 
June 8 2012
Stadion Narodowy

Poland versus Greece offered up a interesting clash in styles; Greece fell back on the pragmatic, defence-orientated play that won them the European Championship four years ago, while Poland were daring and adventurous in attack. Lewandowski enjoyed good service from the midfielders and some suicidal defending from Greece, coming inches away from putting Poland ahead after diving to meet a waist-level pass from Piszczek. The crowd was treated to some delightfully crisp passing from Poland and the Greek defence crumbled under pressure, the two of which eventually combining to culminate in a headed goal from Lewandowski in the 17th minute.

They immediately looked much more reassured after a slightly scrappy start to the curtain-raiser, with Polanski in particular heavily involved, doing well to keep the Greeks very much uninvolved in proceedings. Chalkias looked vulnerable on a number of occasions and his team's attempt to stifle the waves of Polish attacks was found wanting. A controversial decision by the referee to award Sokratis Papastathopoulos with a yellow card and consequently a red before half-time for two soft challenges added to the tension as Greece saw a rare spell in attack which bore no fruition. 

The second half, however provided an interesting twist to the tale as the Greeks emerged from their defensive shell and a goalkeeping blunder, perhaps caused by obstruction from one of the defenders, resulted in a virtual open net chance being presented to Dimitris Salpingidis who made no mistake and scored the equaliser in the 51st minute. This immediately provided the impetus for a period of pressure from the Greeks and Celtic attacker Samaras pulled a shot well wide of the goal after a tantalising ball sent through by Katsouranis. 

The game immediately heated up as Wojciech Szczesny stuck out a foot to impede Salpingiditis, which the referee treated as a straight red card offence. Off went the Arsenal goalkeeper and on stepped the gangly Przemyslaw Tyton in the place of Rybus, who pulled of an absolutely heroic save to deny Karagounis from the penalty spot. Szczesny's reaction in the tunnel was one of much relief while the dejected expression of Fernando Santos told the whole story as Greece continued to attempt to break out of their defensive shell in the face of growing Polish pressure. 

Salpingditis was then caught offside after tapping home the ball from close range and Samaras sent a wild shot far into the stands. Greece were attacking but were mostly restricted to speculative shots from distance. On the Polish side of things, however, playmaker Obraniak grew more and more involved in dictating the tempo of his side's attacks and after yet another poor attempt from Greece to find the net, Lewandowski latched on to a through ball to volley into the side-netting. Poland's German-based players combined well to produce some flowing attacking moves that the Greek backline frantically threw bodies forth to snuff out. Jakub Blaszczykowski tore down the wing and whipped a good ball in but that was as far as things went. 

Greece often lacked creativity and ideas in attack but largely held firm in the defensive department, endeavouring to contain Poland and eventually did as the match finished in a 1-1 draw. However, the match was a thoroughly entertaining one, set the tone for Euro 2012 and far exceeded expectations with an unprecedented penalty save from a substitute goalkeeper, some wonderfully exuberant attacking football from Poland which was matched by a display of Greek endeavour.

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Anonymous said...

Niggers tongue my anus.

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