Poland - Greece Preview: Co-hosts aim for winning start in Euro 2012 curtain-raiser
Franciszek Smuda's men kick off the showpiece in Warsaw against the 2004 European champions, and crave all three points in front of their vibrant home support
By Luke Matthews
Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch
Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus
Torosidis, P'thopoulos, P'dopoulos, Holebas
Karagounis, Katsouranis, Maniatis
Salpingidis, Gekas, Samaras
Co-hosts Poland have no injury concerns heading into their group opener against the surprise winners from eight years ago, and Franciszek Smuda is expected to name the same starting XI that has featured in Poland's last two friendly encounters.
This means Borussia Dortmund trio Lukasz Piszczek, Jakob Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski will all be included from the off, while Rafal Murawski and Eugen Polanski will occupy the central midfield spots as the White Eagles look to kick off their tournament with intent.
Greece can also boast a full bill of health going into the tournament, and are expected to line-up in a 4-3-3 formation versus the hosts. Vasilis Torosidis appeared a doubt when he picked up a knee injury in a friendly against Slovenia last week, but the right-back has shrugged off the knock to take part in recent training sessions.
Sotiris Ninis has also been struggling with a knock, though the 21-year-old has been declared fit and is available for selection. The Panathinaikos attacker is likely to start the game from the bench, with Dimitris Salpingidis set to be favoured on the right side of a three-prong strikeforce.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Poland are co-hosting this summer's Euros along with Ukraine - the first time either nation has hosted a major footballing tournament.
- The White Eagles qualified for their first ever European Championships in 2008, but finished bottom of their group, picking up only one point.
- Poland have faced Greece on 15 occasions and have dominated their European rivals, winning 10, drawing two and losing just three times.
- Smuda's men have kept a national-record five successive clean sheets, going 461 minutes without conceding since Tamas Priskin's goal in a 2-1 defeat of Hungary on 15 November, 2011.
- Greece qualified for Euro 2012 by topping Group F, finishing on 24 points and remaining undefeated ahead of Croatia and Israel.
- There are three survivors from the Euro 2004-winning squad in Poland and Ukraine this summer; Giorgos Karagounis, Kostas Katsouranis (pictured right) and Kostas Chalkias.
- Greece have yet to avoid defeat in Poland, and in eight visits they have suffered eight losses, scoring four goals and conceding 22. They are 17/2 to win the game 1-0 with Paddy Power.
- Karagounis has won 117 caps for Greece, only three shy of Theodoros Zagorakis, who holds the national record.
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Top 3 Predictions
Poland 2-1 Greece
- 17.69 %
Poland 2-0 Greece
- 17.63 %
Poland 1-0 Greece
- 12.52 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||8 Jun 2012||Poland 1 - Greece 1|
|International Friendlies (FR)||29 Mar 2011||Greece 0 - Poland 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||12 Aug 2009||Poland 2 - Greece 0|
|19 Nov 2013||Poland 0 - Republic of Ireland 0||FR|
|15 Nov 2013||Poland 0 - Slovakia 2||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||England 2 - Poland 0||WCQE|
|11 Oct 2013||Ukraine 1 - Poland 0||WCQE|
|10 Sep 2013||San Marino 1 - Poland 5||WCQE|