Poland will be ruing their missed chances in the first half after dropping two points in the opening match against Greece.
Polish manager Franciszek Smuda blamed the result on the pressure from the home supporters in Krakow, stating: “We could see some of the players were paralysed by the pressure.”
The co-hosts went ahead after a blistering start and Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski headed home from close range, with excellent link-up play coming from team-mate Jakub Blaszczykowski.
It has become common knowledge in the build-up to Poland’s first match that the trio of Lewandowski, “Kuba” and Lukasz Piszczek could have a massive role to play in the country’s success at Euro 2012.
The game seemed to go in Poland’s favour just a minute before the break with Sokratis Papastathopolous being shown his second yellow card.
Poland failed to capitalise on the one-man advantage with Smuda’s men missing a host of chances. In the end, Poland had just three attempts on target from a total of 17, in comparison with the Greeks who had just eight shots in total. The home side dominated the possession of the game with 54.3 per cent overall to Poland and the “White Eagles” completing 84 per cent of their 390 passes, 60 more than Greece.
The introduction of PAOK FC striker Dimitris Salpingidis had a telling effect on the match with Greece coming to life in the second period. Salpingidis was deployed in an inside-right role which exposed Werder Bremen’s right-footed full-back Sebastian Boesnich, playing on the left for Poland on Friday night.
Eventually, the Greeks forced an excellent opportunity with Szczesny being shown a straight red card and former Inter Milan midfielder Giorgios Karagounis missing from the penalty spot.
Poland had a slight problem in midfield with FSV Mainz’s Eugen Polanski and Rafal Murawski pushing much deeper than they should have bee. Neither player is an “attack-minded” or a flair midfielder but both are effective in getting forward to support the four-pronged attack. In the first half, Murawski, in particular, was working well with Ludovic Obraniak who was floating across the pitch.
With both players eager to press on the Greek midfielders, Karagounis in particular, Poland had full control of the opening 25 minutes before the red card to Werder’s Sokratis. The difference was notable in the second half when both dropped off, leaving a huge gap between the duo and the attacking players.
Poland coach Smuda pointed out that his midfield lacked a forward-thinking guile that could have exploited Greece on the break in the second half.
Smuda said: “We played too much across and backwards in the second half. The Greeks had nothing to lose. They tried and they scored.
“We now have a few days and we will analyse the match and decide on the 11 for next time. We have three games to play in a short time so we have to handle the players accordingly. Some players will not be fit to play two 90 minutes in a few days.”
Things get tougher for Poland with a clash against the in-form Russia in the second group match – but despite the disappointment, the group is still in the balance.
You can follow Ross Dunbar on Twitter
- Poland 1-1 Greece: Honours even as Giorgos Karagounis misses penalty
- STV Sports Daily at the Euros: Our video preview of the Group A contenders
- Poland rest their hopes of progression on the shoulders of Dortmund trio
People who read this story also read
In this section
- STV Sports Daily at the Euros: Spain v France plus last night's goals
- Peter Katsiris discusses Greece, defence and how to beat Germany
- Germany 4-2 Greece: Reus slams in winner to see Germany into the semi-final
- STV Sports Daily at the Euros: Germany v Greece plus last night's goals
- Euro 2012 talk: Football and finance meet as Germany take on Greece
- Georgios Samaras out to bring some cheer to his troubled homeland
- Euro 2012 Wrap: Horror film ghost girls, Tetris and Denmark's Roy Race
- Greece 1-0 Russia: Stubborn Greece send Russia home with Warsaw victory
- What do the Greek supporters make of Georgios Samaras?
- Czech Republic back in contention after reverting to their passing game