Tag: Poland

Euro 2012: Group A – The Final Day

The bunting will be hanging limp in Warsaw and Wroclaw this afternoon. Poland, the co-hosts of the 2012 European Championships, have been eliminated from the competition at the end of an evening which also saw a Russian team which sparkled in its opening match last week against the Czech Republic eliminated. A group which had caused some to roll their eyes ended up providing absolute fascination, with the mathematical permutations of it all stretching to the dying seconds of the last match to finish last night. Going into yesterday evenings matches, any of the four teams could still qualify for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition and throughout the evening the “As It Stands” group table showed, at varying points, three of the teams as being in the top two spots. When the dust had settled, however, it was the team that arrived at half-time in their opening match a goal down and a man down, Greece, and a Czech Republic side that was beaten out of sight in its opening match that would occupy the much-coveted top two positions. On a rainy night in Wroclaw, the task ahead of Poland was a reasonably simple one. A win against the Czech Republic would be enough to see them edge through to the quarter-finals, and they hared from the traps with six attempts on goal in the opening...

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New Century, Old Tensions: Russian & Polish Supporters Clash In Warsaw

For those amongst us of a certain age, the scenes from the streets of Warsaw yesterday afternoon and evening had a wearyingly familiar look to them – streets of mostly young men, mostly wearing terrible clothes, trading kicks and punches on the street of a European city whilst others, including, of course, a media that had over the last few days given every impression of really looking forward to this moment, looked on. The Polish police had been aware of the potential for crowd trouble to come from the fixture between Poland and Russia, but even a tightly co-ordinated effort on their part to keep the peace on the streets of their capital city c0uldn’t fully contain those that wanted to fight and the result was one hundred and eighty-three arrests – with more to expected to follow – and ten injuries. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, an effervescent match was played out which ended in an honorable draw which keeps both with one eye on qualification from their group with one match left to play. Where, though, might we start to apportion blame for the scenes in Warsaw yesterday afternoon and evening? Moreover, does it even matter whose “fault” it was? At street level, perhaps, it doesn’t. There were evidently plenty of people in Warsaw yesterday afternoon of either nation that were spoiling for a fight, and to...

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Euro 2012: Poland 1-1 Russia

Some matches have a backdrop that is more than just about football, and with more than a dozen military conflicts between the two nations over the last millennia, feelings run high. As well as a presence of around 6000 Polish police officers, an estimated 5000 Russian fans marched through Warsaw. This march wasn’t one proclaiming military might, but political freedom, as June 12 is Russia Day, a national holiday to commemorate the day the Russian parliament declared sovereignty from the former Soviet Union. With the historical context, and the warnings of hooliganism being rife in Poland, there was always a likelihood of conflict off the pitch, and while there have been skirmishes between rival fans, the feeling coming out of Poland at the time of writing is that this has been blown up by the media to satisfy their moral panic coming into the tournament.   The Russian national anthem is accompanied by a huge banner proclaiming “THIS IS RUSSIA”. It is also accompanied by a lot of boos, so much so that the local TV producers seemingly cut the microphones to all but the ladies singing the anthem, and the area in front of the Russian fans. When the music stops, the booing is all that is left, and it is a cacophony, ringing round this packed Warsaw stadium. The Polish national anthem is sung with more gust...

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Euro 2012: Greece 1-1 Poland

Euro 2012 kicked off with a bang as the opening game served up something for everyone. Two goals from comedy goalkeeping errors, a controversial sending off, a cast-iron sending off, a saved penalty and an inspired substitution gave more memorable moments than most opening games put together. Poland started strongly with Jakub Blaszczkowski, Robert Lewandowski and Rafal Murawski all testing the Greek defence, with Costas Chalkias tipping the latter’s effort over the bar. Lukasz Piszczek puts in a great low cross for Lewandowski, but Vassilis Torosaidis does just enough to keep the Polish number nine from making contact, but it only takes seventeen minutes for the co-hosts to take the lead. Ludovic Obraniak finds space on the right, and feeds the ball so that Blaszczkowski can complete the run. Blaszczkowski puts in an outstanding cross, which deceives the defence, and tempts the Greek keeper Chalkias into coming out too far, and too late, and it allows an unmarked Lewandowski to power a header into the empty net. It’s exactly the start a home side needs in tournament like this. Poland 1 Greece 0. After the goal, both defences push up – the Greeks in order to stem the flow of Polish efforts, and the Poles, in order to protect their lead. With Greece just playing with Theofanis Gekas up front, they find it difficult to create anything, and only...

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Euro 2012: The Runners And Riders – Poland

With slightly less than a month to go until the start of the 2012 European Championships, it’s time for us to kick off our previews of the sixteen nations that will be competing at this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine. We’re doing this in order of the groups drawn, so we’ll start with everything you probably don’t need to know about one of this summer’s co-hosts, Poland. The History: The golden years of the Poland national football team came in a decade between 1973 and 1983. With players such as the supremely talented Zbigniew Boniek and Grzegorz Lato, Poland beat both Argentina and Brazil before finishing in third place at the 1974 World Cup finals, and four years later reached the second round of the finals in Argentina. In 1982, they were beaten in the semi-finals by Italy, before beating France by three goals to two in the third place play-off. Surprisingly, this summer is only the second time that Poland has qualified for the finals of this competition. The first time was just four years ago in Switzerland and Austria, and the team was a disappointment, drawing one and losing two of its three matches and finishing with one of the worst record of all of those that had competed in the tournament. The Team: Poland were, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first team to announce their final squad...

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