Euro 2012: Spotlight on Poland
- Tue 29 May 2012, 1:53PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Poland are hosting a major tournament for the first time and will feel they can progress to the next stage given home advantage.
The Poles will face 2004 champions Greece in the competition’s curtain raiser and playing on home soil could prove to be vital - City fans won’t need reminding of just how enthusiastic Polish support can be after borrowing Lech Poznan’s famous celebration for the past year.
The City connection: Kazimierz Deyna
Still regarded as a cult hero by City fans of a certain age, Kaziu Deyna was on the first raft of foreign superstars to descend upon the English league. Although Deyna’s time at Maine Road was disrupted by injury, there were still flickers of this playmaker’s genius in his three-year spell.
Deyna left City for San Diego in the North American Soccer League but was immortalised on the silverscreen thanks to his cameo in the 1981 film Escape to Victory alongside a certain Mike Summerbee.
Sadfly, the former Poland skipper lost his life in 1989 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a car crash, but is fondly remembered as one of the greatest players his country has ever produced.
The Boss: Franciszek Smuda
Poland have a relatively thin squad when it comes to established first team stars but no nonsense coach Franciszek Smuda has cast his net across Europe to neighbouring countries to add depth to his squad.
One to watch: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly the team’s star player and will come into the competition after an impressive season where he finished as top scorer for Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund with 22 goals in 33 appearances.
There’s a brutish quality to this uncompromising midfielder that won’t endear him to opposition supporters but the team’s captain will be the lynchpin if they are to qualify for the quarter finals for the first time.
Goalkeepers: Grzegorz Sandomierski (Jagiellonia Bialystok), Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal), Przemyslaw Tyton (PSV Eindhoven)
Defenders: Sebastian Boenisch (Werder Breman), Marcin Kaminski (Lech Poznan), Damien Perquis (Sochaux), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Marcin Wasilewski (Anderlecht), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warsaw), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (Lech Poznan).
Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Dariusz Dudka (Auxerre), Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor), Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor), Rafal Murawski (Lech Poznan), Ludovic Obraniak (Bordeaux), Eugen Polanski (FSV Mainz), Maciej Rybus (Terek Grozny), Rafal Wolski (Legia Warsaw).
Forwards: Pawel Brozek (Celtic), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Sobiech (Hannover 96).
Odds to win via Paddy Power: 50/1
Come along and enjoy Euro 2012 at City Square, the only outdoor venue in Manchester showing the England matches. We are kicking off with England’s opening match against France on June 11, with City Square open from 2:30pm.
There will be free giveaways from the CityStore and EA, parking is free and The Summerbee Bar, Blue Moon Café and Star Bar will all be open.
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for kids and are available now from the box office - advance purchase only.