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Republic of Ireland
June 8, 2012
• 12:00 PM
• Stadion Narodowy, Warszawa
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 56070
R. Lewandowski 17'
D. Salpingidis 51'
And the final word from Kornel Pracki, who is in the stadium: "The Polish fans had expected much more before the first whistle today. After 90 minutes, they can be disappointed because Smuda's team could not take advantage of the 1-0 lead and the man advantage. Poland really could have got three points today, and got a self-confidence-boosting start to the tournament. Now Greece will be full of confidence because they fought until the end with ten men. The fans were silent after the final whistle - Poland must show more courage in the second game against Russia.
And that's full time. An incredible match, and a fitting opening for what will hopefully be an excellent tournament. It looked as though Greece were dead and buried at half time - they were both a goal and a man down, but a blunder from Szczesny gifted them an equaliser, before the Arsenal man got himself sent off and gave away a penalty. Tyton was the hero, though, keeping out Karagounis' penalty. A draw is a fair result on the balance of play, but one that neither team wanted at the start of play.
90' + 2'
Obraniak swings in the resulting corner towards the far post, and again Chalkias looks unconvincing. However, luckily for the visitors, it evades everyone and drifts out for a goal kick.
That was a horrible, horrible moment. Kuba accelerates down the right and drives an incredible ball across the face of goal. It strikes Katsouranis, but luckily for the Panathinaikos man, it goes over. That could have been a tragic ending to the match.
The crowd rise in expectation as Lewandowski charges through the midfield, but he has no support from his team-mates, and he's eventually crowded out. Time's running out for these teams to grab a winner.
Karagounis tries to chip a free kick into the area, but once again, the Poland back line deal with it well. Apart from the nightmare start to the second half, they've really looked firm at the back today, and were it not for a moment of madness or two from Szczesny, they'd almost certainly be winning this one.
Lewandowski sends a ferocious volley goal-wards, but it hits the side-netting. Half of the stadium cheer, but it wasn't quite there...
Karagounis tries to atone for his penalty miss by shooting from distance, but his effort was never in danger of threatening Tyton.
Eugen Polanski tries to grab a winner with an ambitious effort from distance, but it didn't have the required power, and Chalkias makes an easy save.
Piszczek races down the right, but elects to knock the ball back to Obraniak, who plays in a threatening-looking cross, but one which is eventually cleared. Poland have woken up a bit in recent minutes.
After a poor defensive header from Boenisch, Samaras seizes possession on the edge of the box, and wastes no time in shooting. However, the Celtic striker's shot was never in danger of troubling Tyton, and it flies over the bar. He really could have done much better there.
Poland have their own claims for a penalty as Obraniak charges into the penalty area, but is under close scrutiny from Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and eventually falls. He was certainly off balance anyway, and the referee waves play on.
Tyton has had quite a season in 2011-12, writes Ryan Hubbard, our Polish Football Expert: "Tyton suffered a massive concussion during a game against Ajax earlier in the season, but eventually staked his place in the PSV team following an injury to Isaaksson,"
Wow. That was tight. Salpingidis taps the ball home from close range, but his shot is ruled out for a slight offside. This is anyone's game going into the last 15 minutes.
The Poland fans, predictably, reacted rapturously to the penalty save, according to Kornel Pracki: What a noise in the National Stadium, after Karagounis missed the penalty. Now we can hear loud 'Pszemek Tyton' chants. It's crazy, but Polish fans are now even louder than at the beginning of this game.
Great work from Boenisch, who motors down the left and puts a threatening ball int he area, but Holebas hooks it clear.
Penalty save Przemyslaw Tyton
And Tyton saves Karagounis' effort!!! Amazing scenes in Warsaw. It remains 1-1!!
Missed Penalty Georgios Karagounis
Tyton, the PSV goalkeeper has come on, replacing Rybus.
Red Card Wojciech Szczesny
Penalty and a red card!!! Szczesny's nightmare second half has continued as he comes out to challenge Salpingidis, hooks the 30-year-old's foot, and gets sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. It's all gone awry for Poland.
Sad news, I'm afraid. There are reports that Avraam Papadopoulos has left the stadium in order to undergo further tests on the injury he sustained. Let's hope his tounament hasn't been over.
Kuba swings in a lovely ball from the right, but Rybus, rather harshly, is penalised for a foul on Torosidis as both tried to gain possession of the ball.
What. A. Chance. Katsouranis chips a lovely ball over the top of the Poland defence, straight to Samaras. However, he takes to long to shoot and eventually miscues a wild shot wide. He could have turned the game on its head there.
This really has been a magnificent response from Greece. They were all over the place in the first half. They were poor defensively, and were in danger of losing their discipline towards the end of the period. But they've come back since the break brilliantly.
The game really has died down in intensity. Greece are being a little more firm in the tackle, and dropping back. Poland meanwhile, are not as imaginative in the final third as they were in the first half, and might need something special.
Obraniak fizzes a left-footed free kick just wide of the post. It was a few feet away, but threatening nonetheless.
I must say, Poland have looked a little shell-shocked since the Greek goal. Lewandowski wins a free kick in a threatening area after being smothered by a number of blue shirts...
An update from Kornel Pracki now: "The crowd in the National Stadium was very silent after the Greek goal. Now, they are getting louder - they know, that Poland can score the second goal, but therefore they need the support of the 50,000 people in the stadium."
Yellow Card Georgios Karagounis
In the chat box in the match centre, we're having plenty of feedback. Some of you think that Szczesny is a liability, and one of the worst keepers in the Premier League, others seem confident that Poland will still manage to go on to grab a victory here. It could really go either way, it seems.
Now, that makes things very interesting. Can Poland respond after a howler from one of their big-name players? It really was an awful error from the Arsenal keeper, and Greece will certainly make it hard for the hosts to get another goal now.
Goal Dimitris Salpingidis
GOAL!!! Salpingidis snatches an equaliser for the visitors. Szczesny completely misses a cross, and it falls to the PAOK man, who taps the ball home. The 10 men have come back!
Greece are certainly a little more compact since the break. The midfield is stationed much closer to the the defence - they must be trying to limit Poland's attack and strike on the break.
And again, the BVB contingent in the Poland team combine well, but Lewandowski fires his shot high and wide. He was off-balance and it would have taken something special to get it in from there.
The hosts immediately set out on their path to score a second goal, and win a throw in a threatening area. However, it comes to nothing.
And Poland get the second half started. They're just 45 minutes from their first ever European Championship win.
And remember folks, keep your predictions coming via Twitter. Don't hesitate to join the debate!
And here's what Michael Paterakis makes of Greece's half: "In Greece's line-up, Santos deployed Avraam Papadopoulos instead of the most promising Greek talent, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, due to Avraam's experience and the fact that he has played to Olympiakos defense for the past four years, next to right-back Vasilis Torosidis. However, Avraam's injury forces the Portuguese manager to replace him with Kyriakos. The 19-year-old Schalke defender will now have to prove himself as the red card that Sokratis Papasthopoulos was shown has left him alone at the center of Greece's defense. Torosidis and Holebas will play closer to the center, but with Poland 1-0 in front the Galanolefki can no longer play defensively. Perhaps Santos will replace Katsournais with a more defensive midfielder such as Grigoris Makos."
What an opening half that was. It had everything - brilliant attacking play, controversy, some near misses, and incredible fans. A fantastic start to the competition - let's hope for more of the same!
And that's half time. What a half - Poland are in great position to go on and win this now, but Greece are in all sorts of trouble. Says Kornel Pracki: "The fans were cleberating when Sokratis got his second yellow card. It was a nightmare for the defender. Then the Greek player got another yellow card and they are unhappy - they wanted a penalty when the ball hit Perquis' arm. But the referee decides for a Poland free kick."
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Jose Holebas
And yet more controversy. Poland clear the ball up-field and Lewandowski is blocked by Holebas as he tried to run on to it. The Olympiakos man picks up a booking for his troubles.
45' + 2'
Greece will not be happy about this. The ball clearly struck Perquis in his own area, but, despite a numerous Greek protestations, the referee gives no penalty. It seemed pretty inadvertent, but it could have been given nonetheless.
Perquis latches on to Obraniak's free kick, but nods the ball just wide of the left-hand side of Chalkias' goal.
Yellow/Red Sokratis Papastathopoulos
RED CARD!! Sokratis picks up his second booking of the half. Murawski tries to run past him, and goes down as the duo tussle. That seems a little harsh from the Spanish referee. Greece are in real trouble now.
There's a lot of you backing a Greece comeback on the social networking sights. They've been very toothless in attack, so far, though, and Poland have been more than equal to their threat.
This is certainly not the time for tricks and flicks. Ninis finds himself back to goal in space, and tries to back heel it into Torosidis' path. However, his compatriot fails to read his intentions and Poland recover possession easily.
Torosidis gets forward from the right, and puts in a lovely cross which Wasilewski does brilliantly to put behind for a corner with a volley of Greek strikers looming.
Brilliant work from Kuba. Szczesny's punch falls into the Poland skipper's path, and he puts in some great running down the right, and eventually wins a corner when his cross towards Lewandowski is blocked out.
Szczesny is called into action fro what seems like the first time. However, he shows no signs of being careless after a quiet afternoon, and confidently punches a ball away.
What a chance!! An aimless cross from the left is perilously touched straight into Perquis' path by the Greek back line. However, it's a real defender's finish, and he blasts it wide. An incredible opportunity to make it 2-0, squandered.
And we've had the long-awaited substitution. Avraam Papadopoulos is being replaced by Kyriakos Papadopoulos at centre back for the visitors.
Yellow Card Sokratis Papastathopoulos
And Sokratis becomes the first player to pick up a booking in Euro 2012 after a rough aerial challenge.
As we approach the break, Poland can be very happy with the shift they've put in. They've looked assured at the back, dominant in midfield, and threatening up front. They could use a second goal, though.
And an update from Kornel Pracki, our Polish representative in Warsaw: "Fernando Santos is still sitting. We get the impression that he has not got a plan for how to react now. The Polish fans are 100 per cent behind their team. We have not got such a great atmosphere at a Poland game for a long time."
Our Greek representative in the stadium, Michael Paterakis says: "Change of plans now for Fernando Santos. Greece will have to attack, but first have to gain some ball-possession. Katsouranis and Maniatis seem unable to do so and Karagounis is just one man. Also, Greece's left flank has many problems with Holebas and Samaras facing serious defensive problems."
Ninis is ordered to retake the free kick, and with his second effort, he tries to chip a clever ball to Maniatis on the edge of the box. However, he completely miscues his volley, and Poland win the ball back.
Chance for Greece to threaten now. Boenisch fouls Ninis on the edge of the area, and the Parma-bound winger has the opportunity to swing it in.
Whenever Greece advance into the Polish half, they're hounded off the ball - you can really see why Smuda's men haven't conceded a goal since November...
Obraniak swings in another set piece, this time a free kick, but Papadopoulos, who seems to have recovered by now, manages to get it away.
Obraniak swings in a corner from the left wing, and after a Greek defender wins the first ball, Chalkias rushes off his line and deals with it somewhat more convincingly than he did with Kuba's assist.
And now Ninis gets on the ball for what seems like the first time, but he's stopped in his tracks by a robust tackle, and seems a little annoyed when he's not given a free kick.
A rare sight of goal for the Greeks, as Katsouranis takes aim from distance. However, it's little more than a shot in anger and it drifts harmlessly wide.
This game has settled a little more now. Before the opener, the tension was incredible, but the Poland crowd seem a little relieved to that the opener has arrived. That hasn't stopped the Poland fans from hounding Greece players whenever they're in possession.
Papadopoulos has come back on, but appears to be in some discomfort. We might see the early introduction of his namesake, Kyriakos Papadopoulos.
And it's getting worse for Greece. Avraam Papadopoulos has gone down clutching his knee.
Assist Jakub Blaszczykowski
Goal Robert Lewandowski
GOAL!!!! Lewandowski puts Poland ahead! Kuba sends an inch-perfect cross straight on to his Borussia Dortmund team-mate's head, and he gleefully nods home. Chalkias was in no man's land!
Remember, you can always get in touch via Twitter (@goal_intl), or via the chat mechanism. The predictions are flying in, and this game is too close to call, according to you guys. Keep them coming!
SO CLOSE!! Piszczek has been on fire so far. On this occasion he advances into the box, and completely beats the keeper with a wonderful cross, and Lewandowski is inches away from heading the ball into the back of the net.
More great interplay from the Borussia Dortmund contingent in the Poland team. Piszczek pulls the ball back to Kuba, who swings a right boot at it, but his effort goes well over.
Karagounis swings in a free kick, which Gekas gets to, but the Samsunspor striker's effort drifts wide.
Another update from our man Kornel Pracki: "What a start, what an atmosphere. You can only hear the fans here - not a word from your neighbour at the reporter desk! Coach Smuda is standing the whole time and handing out advice."
After a fiery start from the hosts, the Greeks have settled back into the game a little bit - they're steady in possession, but Poland seem happy to sit back and wait for the ball to come to them.
Another chorus of boos rings out around the stadium as Kuba is fouled just inside the Greece half. But, thankfully, the Poland captain is fine. The passionate fans have created an incredible atmosphere.
First sign of impetus from the Greeks now, but Gekas is caught narrowly offside as he looked to latch on to a high ball over the top of the Poland defence. Good use of the offside trap, there.
Some lovely passing ends in Piszczek receiving the ball in the right-hand channel, but his cross is blocked away.
Murawski!!! Lewandowski can't get a hold of Piszczek's cross, but the ball falls to Murawski, who forces an acrobatic save from Chalkias with a left-footed effort from the edge of the box. Lovely save, and the first sight of goal so far!
The hosts win a throw in down the left, and Kuba tries to hook the ball into Lewandowski's path, but Chalkias gets to the ball.
Polanski gives away a free kick, and Greece's first opportunity to swing in a trademark free kick ends with Lewandowski heading it clear.
Poland launch a long ball, and Lewandowski tussles with Sokratis, his Bundesliga rival, and the Greek defender wins a free kick.
Greece try to give all of their back line an early touch and volley of boos rings out around the stadium. The home crowd are certainly up for this!
Our Spanish referee has blown the opening whistle, and Greece have got the game, and Euro 2012, started!
We've had the national anthems - both sung rapturously - and we're inching ever-closer to the off!
The teams are in the tunnel: we're just seconds away from the off. Don't miss a second!
So, this is the start of something big, ladies and gentlemen. If you have any predictions for today, or for the tournament as a whole, do not hesitate to send them to me via Twitter to @goal_intl. I look forward to hearing from you, as ever!
Kornel Pracki, Goal.com's Polish representative is also in the crowd, and he says that with the opening ceremony taking place now, "the whole world is focusing on Warsaw".
We're lucky enough to have two of our correspondents in the crowd in Warsaw today. On the Greek side, Michael Paterakis, we can hear that the Ethniki's ever-loyal fanbase is filling the stadium with the sound of "National Team Yeia Sou!", the song that led them to victory in 2004.
Meanwhile, Greece line up with: Chalkias; Torosidis, Sokratis, Papadopoulos, Holebas; Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis; Ninis, Gekas, Samaras
The teams are in. Poland will start the game with: Szczesny; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Murawski, Polanski; Kuba, Obraniak, Rybus; Lewandowski
Both Poland and Greece have a real point to prove though. In the 2008 edition of the competition, both sides were eliminated without a win.
What's more, Greece have been defeated in each of their eight visits in Poland, conceding a total of 22 goals in the process, and failing to score in their last four encounters.
However, the omens are against the Greeks when it comes to facing the Poles. In the 15 games between the two nations, Poland have won 10, Greece have won just three, and there have been two draws.
Greece will, of course, have great memories of playing in the European Championship's opening match - in 2004, they notched a surprise 2-1 victory over Portugal, and went on to win the tournament, against all odds.
It's finally here! The wait is over, and a three-week long feast of football will be underway shortly. We're getting started for Poland's clash with Greece,with both sides looking to get their campaigns started with a vital win - there's no margin for error in Group A, so only three points will be good enough for either side.
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