Poland-Russia will be tense, but we'll win it: Polish ambassador to Singapore

Ardent national team follower and Poland's ambassador to Singapore, His Excellency Waldemar Dubaniowski, gave his thoughts on the Polish team situation after watching them
By Bhas Kunju & Jeremy Lim | Goal.com Singapore

Poland were clear favourites entering the opening match, and looked to have justified that tag when Robert Lewandowski headed home in the 17th minute. Nevertheless, two red cards and a missed penalty later, Greece equalised and very nearly produced a shock victory over their hosts.

"It was an excellent game from a neutral perspective," remarked H.E. Dubaniowski exclusively to Goal.com Singapore, who were in attendance at StarHub's Live telecast of the match at Clarke Quay.

"Both teams came to play in a way that is atypical of a tournament opener.

"As a Poland fan, I initially felt quite bothered that we took our foot off the pedal so much in the second half, but after the penalty [save by Poland's substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton on Greece's Girogos Karagounis], I think I speak for most other supporters in saying we were relieved for the result.

"Our next game against Russia will be a tense, closely-fought affair as it always is, but I'm backing our boys to win it in front of our home crowd."

H.E. Dubaniowski was also touched by the turnout from Polish residents in Singapore and pointed out a Polish fan who was wearing a jersey referencing the 1974 World Cup Finals in which Poland beat Brazil to finish third, after narrowly losing to Germany in a hard-fought semi-final.

He also went on to comment on the recent trend of players born in Poland to don the national jersey of close neighbours, Germany. Arsenal signing Lukas Podolski and veteran hitman Miroslav Klose are more prominent names who have made the swap.

"Poland has always enjoyed a good relationship with the German populace, " he said.

"Even today, Podolski is warmly accepted by all of Poland, especially given the proud nature with which he declares his natural heritage.

"The reality is, both our nations stand to gain from this mutual state of affairs. Our players enjoy a greater international exposure in the Bundesliga, while the German league benefits from being able to count on our talent, as proven by Lewandowski, [Kuba] Blaszczykowski and [Lukasz] Piszczek."

The trio mentioned were fundamental to ensuring Borussia Dortmund retained their Bundesliga crown this season by seeing off fierce rivals Bayern Munich. Lewandowski and co. will now prove crucial to helping their nation live up to their label as tournament dark horses of Euro 2012.