Nerves affect Poland

Poland’s coach has admitted that some of his players were affected by nerves in their opening Euro 2012 game. Franciszek Smuda conceded that under the high pressure of playing their opening game in a tournament they are co-hosting some of his players froze and failed to perform at the level he and their nation were expecting of them.

Things were looking rosy for Poland at half time. Robert Lewandowski put them one up and the Greeks were then reduced to 10 men following Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ sending off for two yellow cards. Poland failed to capitalise and kill the game off. Greece came out for the second half a much improved side and equalised, before Poland themselves also had a man sent off in Wojciech Szczesny. Substitute goalkeeper, Przemyslaw Tyton was in the end Poland’s hero. His first action after coming on was to save a penalty, which proved to be the decisive act in sealing a draw and an opening point for the Poles.

Smuda tried to look on the bright side after the game though. “I told the players to cheer up, it would have been much worse if we had lost. It is not the end, the tournament is still open. It’s great big-match experience for Lewy and the others who are going off to Manchester United and Liverpool in the future.”

The Poles were come the end of the game satisfied with the result. Focussing on the positives of getting a result against the 2004 champions, “Greece are a very experienced team and it is difficult to score against them. It was difficult when we lost the goalkeeper. The situation changed because of the red card.”

Poland now face Russia and the Greeks will take on the Czech Republic. Having drawn their opening games both will be eager to take something from both of their remaining games to maximise their chances of advancing to the latter stages of the tournament.