Poles unhappy with stuttering start

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Warsaw – A draw with Greece in the opening match of Euro 2012 was not enough for many Poles, who called the score a “horror” and “drama” on Saturday after the game dashed their ambitions for an opening victory for the tournament co-hosts.

“Only a draw,” said a headline in Fakt, Poland's top-selling daily, while tabloid Super Express dubbed the match “weaker than expected” and a “horror at the inauguration” of the tournament hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

Poles were hoping that the home advantage, and some 50,000 screaming fans at the sold-out National Stadium on Friday, would propel them to victory against a team considered the weakest team in Group A.

But the Poles lost steam in the second half of the match after Robert Lewandowski scored a goal against Greece in the 17th minute of the game.

“It could have been the most beautiful opening of a football event since 1974 (when Poland beat Argentina 3-2 in their opening match of the World Cup)” wrote the daily Wyborcza. “They were in complete control of the situation, before the horror began and (in the end) the Poles miraculously survived.”

Poland had drawn a “dream group” – facing Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic – that many said would give them a fair chance at the semi-finals.

But the draw with Greece left some unsure whether Poland could go on to defeat Russia on Tuesday. The daily Fakt noted that, “For the game against Russia, this is not enough.”

Many, however, were grateful to goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton for saving Georgios Karagounis' penalty kick in the second half, and keeping Greece from winning the match.

“Tyton protected us from hell,” said the sports daily Przeglad Sportowy, while Super Express went further saying, “Tyton saved Poland.”

“We are saved,” the Wyborcza wrote. “If it wasn't for the saved penalty kick, we would face a humiliation out of this world.” – Sapa-dpa

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