Co-hosts Poland face in-form Russia, at Warsaw, on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, after escaping with a draw against the 2004 champions, Greece. Russia on the other hand handed the Czech Republic a 4-1 thrashing in their opening game in Group A.
Poland who qualified by virtue of being co-hosts did not get past the group stage in 2008, their only other appearance in the tournament. But this time around, their point earned against Greece could prove crucial to their qualification bid. In fact, Poland could have won the game against Greece after Robert Lewandowski put them ahead in the first half, and Greece had Sokratis Papstathopoulos sent off before the interval. as it transpired, Poland’s inexperience on the international stage came to the fore, as they let slip the advantage and nearly lost the game.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda will have his task cut out against a rampaging Russian forward line, on Tuesday, especially as he will be without his star goalkeeper, Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny, who will be serving a suspension. Poland will look to their attacking pair of Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski –- both Dortmind stars — to take the fight to the Russians.
Having beaten the Czech republic, 2008 semifinalists Russia are sitting pretty at the top of the group. their pre-tournament warm up against Italy that the Russians won 3-0 should have woken up football fans to the potential of this dangerous side who can spoil the party for virtually any team in this tournament.
Complacency would be Russia’s worst enemy, and nobody knows that better than coach Dick Advocaat. The win against the Czech republic was built on a brilliant performance by midfielder Andrei Arshavin, and barring striker Kerzhakov’s profligacy, Russia should have won by a much bigger scoreline. tottenham striker Pavlyuchenkov also showed good form by scoring a goal after coming in as a substitute.
However, Russia have a chink in their armour, in the form a porous defence. That said, Poland will need to perform at a much higher level than they been accustomed to, if they want to salvage even a draw from Tuesday’s game.
Polan’d probable eleven: Tyton, Piszczek, Perquis, Wasilewski, Wawrzyniak,. Dudka, Mierzejewski, Blaszczykowski, Polanski, Obraniak, Lewandowski.
Russia’s probable eleven: Malafeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Berezutski, Shirokov, Denisov, Zyranov, Dazgoev, Kerzhakov, Arshavin.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.