Euro 2012: Co-hosts Poland face must-win game

Updated: 14 June 2012 19:32 IST

It is win or bust for co-hosts Poland as they take on the Czech Republic here on Saturday knowing that any other result would see them exit the European Championship.

Euro 2012: Co-hosts Poland face must-win game
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Wroclaw:

It is win or bust for co-hosts Poland as they take on the Czech Republic here on Saturday knowing that any other result would see them exit the European Championship.

Euro 2012 | Venues | Standings | Features

Poland may have played well in their opening two Group A matches but they failed to win either and currently sit third with just two points.

The Czech Republic have three points and failure to win would mean that the Poles could overtake neither the Czechs nor group leaders Russia, who have four points.

It means the co-hosts find themselves in a situation that looked highly unlikely after 45 minutes of their opening game against Greece.

A goal and a man to the good and playing vibrant attacking football, Franciszek Smuda's team looked to be fulfilling the pre-tournament promise that a 2-2 friendly draw with Germany in September had started to foment.

That all looked to be crashing down as Greece stormed back to snatch a 1-1 draw and could even have won after Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off and giving away a penalty ta boot.

Substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was the hero as he saved Giorgos Karagounis's spot-kick and kept the Poles from defeat.

Things were looking glum again as they trailed 1-0 to Alan Dzagoev's goal for Russia in the next group game but captain Jakub Blaszczykowski's superb equaliser maintained their unbeaten run.

It has been a bumpy ride so far for the hosts but Smuda is confident his side can get the result they need and continue in the competition.

"I'd like for the best to be yet to come, and I'd have nothing against it being in the match with the Czech Republic," he said.

Poland have some injury worries, though, with defender Damien Perquis and midfielders Eugen Polanski and Dariusz Dudka all doubts having suffered injuries against Russia on Tuesday.

An abdominal strain has made Dudka the most doubtful of the three while Perquis is recovering from a gashed shin and Polanski is suffering from a bruised knee.

Even so, the mood in the Polish camp is one of optimism as they prepare to play the inconsistent Czechs.

"Our match with the Czechs is crucial, perhaps our most important in recent years," said midfielder Rafal Murawski.

"We have to win it, and we mean to win it. The Czechs are within our range."

While Poland have injury concerns and need to win, the Czechs are in almost exactly the same boat.

They could qualify with a draw but only if Greece don't beat Russia, otherwise they will be out.

It means they too need to win to be sure of progressing but they have concerns over two crucial players, captain Tomas Rosicky and goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Topics : Football Jakub Blaszczykowski Poland Euro 2012 Rafal Wolski Alou Diarra Lech Poznan Czech Republic Wojciech Szczesny Robert Lewandowski Tomas Rosicky
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