Saturday, June 9, 2012
Powered by their famed Dortmund trio, the co-hosts of Euro 2012 looked to be cruising after a powerful first half. Poland's midfield quintet of Kuba, Obraniak, Murawski, Polanski and Rybus were totally in control and gobbled up every mistake that Greece made in the first half. Greece and Fernando Santos looked shell shocked and simply had no answer against the swarming Polish players.
Poland could have scored three goals at least in the first half, such were their domination. The Greeks simply looked overwhelmed and every mistake in possession was pounced upon. Every Greek player, when in possession, was surrounded by three Poles, forcing mistakes after mistakes.
This swarming attacking offense provided Poland with the necessary deserved breakthrough as Robert Lewandowski kickstarted his Euro 2012 campaign, scoring with a simple header. He had narrowly missed some earlier chances so the highly rated Dortmund marksman looked elated to score the first goal of Euro 2012.
One goal up and gifted a one-man advantage, Poland went into the halftime team talk, feeling like they could turn it on in the second half. But they did not bargain on some brilliant tactics from Greece's Fernando Santos!
Although there was a surprise that Kyriakos Papadapoulous did not start the game, the highly rated Schalke stopper came on as a substitute in the first half. In the second half, the ineffective Ninis was removed in favour of hardworking Dimitrios Salpangidis.
Greece also started to trouble Poland more on their defensive left area. One such attack down the left side of the Polish defence caused confusion and Salpangidis suddenly became Greece's unlikely supersub. Fernando Santos had instructed his players to start playing balls over the top of the Polish defence and it worked like a charm. With Poland defending a high line, Greece were starting to get behind the Polish defenders and subsequently got the penalty decision.Salpangidis' efforts easily pivotal to the Greek revival on the pitch.
Greece were enjoying more and more success with their passing as the Poles tire inevitably. Giorgios Samaras should have done better when he was set free in the penalty box late in the game.
In the end, Poland must be wondering why they did not wrap up the game in the first half. Santos and Salpangidis rescued a point for Greece. With an expectant home crowd, Poland will be feeling a lot more pressure going into their next two potentially harder group matches.
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