|Road to Euro 2012: Recap of Greece vs. Poland|
Greece: Road to Euro Cup 2012 brought to you by: Hellas Fan Club Toronto www.HFCToronto.com
Euro 2012 kicked off with a big celebration in Warsaw, Poland. The opening match pitted co-hosts Poland against Euro 2004 winners Greece. We’re here to break down the match for you and tell you what went down:
The match didn’t start too well for the Greeks whose 4-3-3 formation wasn’t working against the Polish. The Polish were making quick work of the Greeks by keeping the ball to the outside and with terrific passing. Eventually it became to much for the Greeks and the Poles scored the opening goal of the match in the 17th minute with a beautiful cross ball to Lewandowski who headed it into the back of the net. The Greek defense was all over the place on this goal and out of position giving Lewandowski easy access to the front of the net and no challenge. The Greek goalkeeper, Chalkias, may have also been a bit to blame here as he gave up a soft one and was caught out of position by trying to intercept the cross in instead of staying in the net.
Later in the first half in the 35th minute Sokratis Papastathopoulos was given a very soft yellow card for his challenge in the air against one of the Polish players. Unfortunately, only nine minutes after that in the 44th minute Papastathopoulos received yet another yellow card, resulting in a red card, for his incidental contact against a Polish player. This too was an unfair yellow card as the replay’s clearly showed afterwards that the Polish player slipped. Nevertheless, Papastathopoulos was sent off and the Greeks were down to 10 men heading into the second half.
The Greek coach, Fernando Santos, must have had some inspirational words at half time as the Greeks came out flying the second half, even down a man. Salpingidis was substituted in to start the half for Ninis and seemed to have given them a spark. This resulted in Greece’s first goal of the game as Salpingidis put in a loose ball into the back of the net after the Polish keeper, Szczesny, got tangled with Gekas after the ball was crossed in and it just fell on the ground where Salpingidis was waiting and just shot it into the empty net. 1-1 game.
Greece kept on the pressure and Salpingidis kept on causing problems for the Polish defense and finally, after receiving a ball chipped in the air, Salpingidis had a clear cut breakaway and was brought down in the penalty area by Szczesny. The referee gave him a straight red card and awarded Greece a penalty shot. As if the drama couldn’t get any better for the opening match of the tournament. Karagounis was to take the penalty kick and stepped up. With the game on his foot he took the shot into his usual place, bottom right corner of the net, but the shot was too weak and the substituted goalie in place for Szcezsny, Tyton, made the easy save.
The game eventually ended 1-1, with a Greek goal being called off because it was offside, therefore both teams came away with a point. If the Greeks wish to make it out of the group stages alive they need to play like they did in the second half, as an organized team on the pitch and a passionate group of soccer players. Kyriakos Papadopoulos, the first half replacement for Avraam Papadopoulos who got injured and is now out for the tournament, played spectacularly and gave the Greek defense a much needed jolt. Giorgos Samaras needs to learn to bury his chances, or at least get a shot on goal, and the whole team needs to play like they did in the second half but other than that great game by the Greeks. Great first game and great to get the opening game jitters out of them.
Up next June 12, 2012: Greece vs. Czech Republic. Go Greece Go!!! Both teams need a definite win! Do you think Greece will win? Take our poll now!
By Theodore Nanos and HFC Toronto: www.HFCToronto.com