By Marc Serber
Opening games of long awaited international tournaments are usually a bit anti-climatic. Not this one. Poland v. Greece was anything but as the match had everything from good energy to high drama and contentious refereeing decisions.
Right off the top of my head, here are my quick thoughts from the Euro2012’s opening match.
Poland’s Perfect 20:
Poland looked like world beaters in the first 20 minutes. Their fluid movement and smooth passing was causing Greece fits, especially down the right hand side. Robert Lewandowski’s 17th minute header was just rewards for an enterprising period of play.
Phantom Yellow Cards:
Both yellow cards issued to Sokratis Papastathopoulos were atrocious. The first challenge was a good straight up challenge with the arms no where near the face of the Polish attacker.
I could understand the thinking of the referee on the last one. Papastathopoulos was the last man back as Rafal Murawski went to ground, but as the ball game in Murawski was already slipping and the unlucky defender barley touched him, but was still shown a second yellow for his efforts.
You couldn’t help but think back to Euro 2004…especially when Damien Perquis missed a golden opportunity to put the Poles two goals to the good over the 10-men-Greeks.
Right after, Greece seemed to make the adjustments at the back and even though there wasn’t much going forward, you felt that this current Greek side needed just one opportunity to claw its way back into the match and you couldn’t help but think all the chances Portugal missed in their opening match before the Galanolefki put them to the sward.
Wojclech Szczesny’s Poor Decision Making:
While the halftime substitution of Dimitrios Salpingidis no doubt galvanized the visitors, you have to feel that Szczesny played a huge part in the equalizer. I am not sure the Polish keeper picked the best time to come off his line, allowing the second-half sub to poke the ball into an empty net while the Arsenal shot-stopper was scrambling around in no man’s land.
On his red card, Szczesny can’t be faulted to the same extent. Salpingidis made a brilliant run to embarrass the offside trap and latch onto an equally delightful ball flighted into him, but the Polish keeper was a step to slow and ultimately had to go for his infringement as the final defender.
End Of Game Dejection:
Usually at the end of a draw, one team looks a bit happier if not more relieved than the other. I can’t remember a time in real recent memory, however, when both teams looked so dejected.
Greece felt they should have won had veteran Giorgos Karagounis tucked away his penalty and Georgios Samaras wasn’t so wasteful in front of goal.
Poland could feel just as aggrieved for failing to play the full 90 as they did the first 20 and for failing to take a few late chances of their own.
The only man smiling at the end of game one was back-up goalkeeper Przmyslaw Tyton, and he had every reason to grin from ear to ear.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.
adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
Borussia Dortmund hears Wembley Calling and are headed to London for the Champions League final.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!