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European Championship

  • June 8, 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Stadion Narodowy, Warszawa
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 56070
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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

  PROBABLE LINEUPS


POLAND


Szczesny
Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch
Murawski, Polanski
Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus
Lewandowski
GREECE

Chalkias
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.
  • Karagounis has won 117 caps for Greece, only three shy of Theodoros Zagorakis, who holds the national record.

Players to watch

R. Lewandowski

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
The Borussia Dortmund striker comes into the Euros on the back of a superb season for his club. Lewandowski netted 30 times for BVB during the 2011-12 campaign and his confidence will be sky-high heading into the game against an ordinary Greek team. On top of that, the former Lech Poznan man also has an eye for a killer pass so expect him to be heavily involved throughout the match.

G. Karagounis

Position: Midfielder

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 2
  • 0
The veteran was a key player when Greece shocked the footballing world by winning Euro 2004 and despite his advancing years, he will still play a key role this summer. Fernando Santos' men may feel their best chance of a win over the Poles would be to dominate the centre of the pitch and with Karagounis' experience and passing range, they may just do that.

Editor's Prediction

The co-hosts may be coming into the Euros on the back of several forgetful tournament campaigns yet it could be very different this year. Boasting a number of established stars such as Lukasz Piszczek, Wojciech Szczesny and Robert Lewandowski along with home advantage, expect the Poles to record a fairly routine victory over Greece to pick up an early advantage in Group A.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Poland

Greece

Wins
2
3
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Poland POL
Poland Poland
Draw
Greece GRC
Greece Greece
61%
18%
21%

Top 3 Predictions

Poland POL
2 - 1
Greece GRC
Poland POL
2 - 0
Greece GRC
Poland POL
1 - 0
Greece GRC

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