Euro 2012: Day one report
- 09 June 2012 12:09
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
There was no shortage of drama on the opening day as co-hosts Poland drew with Greece, while a rampant Russia really got the party started against the less than impressive Czechs.
The curtain was raised on Euro 2012 with a most colourful opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
Fans around the ground held coloured pieces of card above their heads, at one point forming a montage of each of the 16 participating countries’ national flags.
With so many international tournaments known for their beige beginnings, many of us were secretly wondering if this was the only bold statement we would witness on day one.
However, I am pleased to report, that what followed was no grey matter.
POLAND 1 – 1 GREECE
With both sides neither scoring nor conceding many in the lead up to the tournament, you could be forgiven for not expecting too much in the way of drama in this opening match.
However, with goals, red cards and a penalty miss – it would be fair to say this game had it all, as Euro 2012 exploded into life!
Co-hosts Poland dominated the first half, with the Borussia Dortmund trio of Robert Lewandowski, Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski linking up well. It wasn’t long before this paid off, with Lewandowski scoring on 17 minutes.
Greece’s problems mounted when Sokratis Papastathopoulos was shown red for two very, very soft fouls. However, just as all seemed lost, substitute Dimitris Salpingdis fired home shortly after the break, after Polish goalie Wojciech Szczesny failed to deal with a right wing cross.
The Arsenal keeper’s day then went from bad to worse when he tripped Giorgos Karagounis in the box and subsequently received his marching orders.
With the Greeks thinking the Gods were certainly on their side, Karagounis saw his resulting spot-kick saved by sub ‘keeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
Greece went on to push for a winner as the Poles’ form took a nose dive, but ultimately the game would end in a 1-1 draw.
RUSSIA 4 – 1 CZECH REPUBLIC
With hardly a moment to draw breath, it was almost straight into game number two at Wroclaw’s Municipal Stadium.
Dick Advocat’s side made a slow start, but soon found their stride to take a 2-0 lead into the interval, through midfielders Alan Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov.
Vaclav Pilar pulled one back shortly after the break, to give the Czechs a glimmer of hope.
However, with some inspired football and impeccable finishes, Dzagoev and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko sealed the win.
There’s no doubt the attacking Russians will be delighted with their bright start, but the Czechs have to be extremely disappointed with their lack of defending, allowing the Russians to roam around their box, seemingly at will.