Poland, who is co-hosting the EURO this year along with Ukraine, head into this tournament looking to do better from their performance four years ago after qualifying for EURO Cup for the first time. This year, it is definitely looking like they are making the most of their stature as one of the co-hosts of the competition, wasting no time in naming who’ll be playing for their national team to become the first from the field of “16” to do so. Poland was able to assemble quite a formidable team for this year’s European football wars, a team that has the likes of Arsenal FC goalkeeper Szczesny and three from the two-time in a row German Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund with Piszczek, Blaszczykowski, and Lewandowski. There were quite some questionable picks like Hannover 96 striker Sobiech, Legia Warszawa forward Kucharczyk, and 19 years old Rafal Wolski but the fact of the matter is, Poland head coach Smuda is confident that the group can make Polish football fans proud. So maybe Poland will finally get their dream come true and compete with the others on high level?
However, it seems Russia, one of the four nations included in Group A, disagrees with the notion that their group won’t be as competitive as the three other groups in Euro 2012. You see, they are coming off their best performance in a major international competition, that happened four years ago in Euro 2008 when the Russian contingent got out of the group stages of the tournament for the first time since being officially hailed as the Russian national squad, and it’s only understandable that this team expects to do more than just show up for the tournament.
Also in Group A, we have the Czech Republic, one of the underdogs of this year’s European Championship. They really don’t have anything to show for since reaching the finals of the competition way back in 1996. To make matters worse for this group is the fact that their last stint in this tournament was their worst yet as they failed to qualify in the Euro 2008 knockouts when they let Turkey score two very late goals in a game they should’ve won.
Finally we have Greece in Group A. After winning the EURO cup all eight years ago in 2004 to shock the world, Greece comes into the competition with something to prove, especially after the mess that they suffered in 2008 when they came in as the title holders and got their behinds whooped. A strong campaign this year should rectify the humiliating stint they had in Euro 2008. Can they do it? There’s only one way to find out.
So who you think will be on top of this group guys? Any favorites you already have? Feel free to interact on this blog. For me, I would go for Russia and Czech Republic to advance, but we cannot underestimate Poland as hosts. First matches on Friday so be prepared!