Friday, June 08, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 1 Wrap: Greece Gets Another Bailout, And You Can't Show Any Weakness In Front Of The Russians

Well, that was certainly one hell of an opening to the 2012 European Championship.

On paper, Poland vs Greece looked to be one of the worst, if not the worst, opening match in tournament history.

On the pitch, it was...not that.

Two goals, one red card, two ludicrous yellow cards, one howler per keeper, one saved penalty, all in a match which could have featured exactly none of the above.

The Poles came out strong in front of their home crowd, which was to be expected, but the Greeks responded well and got two huge breaks from Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny, first failing to clear a cross that led to the eventual tying marker, and then earning a straight red for a rash challenge that will leave him on the bench for Poland's next match.

Greece could have won were it not for a poor penalty take from captain Giorgos Karagounis, but given how badly they were outplayed early on, you won't hear too many complaints about the result.

Overall it was a much deserved sharing of points and a sign that both clubs are frisky and look to stand a chance of coming out of the group in second place.

I say second place with a purpose, because Russia has clearly shown they're the class of Group A.

The George Bush-haunting Russians blasted four past Petr Cech, two from 21-year-old phenom Alan Dzageov, who's already this tournament's Wayne Rooney, and is surely cashing the cheque to a top-flight international club for next season.

Dick Advocaat's side looks like a worthy challenger to whomever comes out of Group B's team deathmatch, which kicks off tomorrow with the Netherlands versus Denmark and Germany versus Portugal.

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