Euro 2012 Day 1: Let the Fun Begin

Sebastian Boenisch, Poland defender (L) vies with Dimitris Salpingidis of Greece in Friday`s action from opening day in Euro 2012. Photo Credit (AFP-Getty Images) – Yahoo! Sports

Ok, so the first post here, I am going to talk about is the start of the European Soccer Championship, otherwise known this year as Euro 2012. Sixteen top teams from Europe compete in what some critics call a better soccer tournament than the FIFA World Cup. The next World Cup is scheduled for 2014 in Brazil. Group A action kicked off the tournament on Friday. The first game saw an encounter between co-host Poland and Greece.

Poland kicked off the scoring in the 17th minute when Poland’s Robert Lewandowski sent the Polish fans into euphoria. Things got even worse for the Greeks, when in the 44th minute, when defender Sokratis Papastathopoulo of Werder Bremen saw his second yellow card, and was automatically sent off. That caused Greece to play the rest of the game with ten men.

However, Greece turned things around in the second half when Dimitris Salpingidis from Greek club side PAOK levelled the score in the  51st minute. Poland would eventually be reduced to ten men also, as Polish goalkeeper Wojiech Szczesny was red carded for taking down a Greek players.

Overall, a spirited affair, and leaves everything up for grabs in Group A for likely the second spot. That is because in the second game, Russia dominated the Czech Republic 4-1. Two goals from Russian forward Alan Dzagoev of CSKA Moscow in the 15th and 79th minute helped put Russia to the top of Group A. Roman Shirokov, from club side Zenit St. Petersberg and Roman Pavlyuchenko from Lokomotiv Moscow, also filled the net for Russia. Václav Pilař, of the Czech Republic, who plays his club soccer with Wolfsburg, accounted for the only German goal of the game.

After today’s results,  I think Russia is the side to beat. I don’t think no one will stop them. The race will be for the coveted number two spot. I think Greece has the inside track here. The resiliency they showed after being down 1-0 and losing a man showed the typical underdog style they are known for. Poland, while tying Greece, and with the home crowd behind them might be piped out here. This was a must win game, that quite frankly, they blew. The Czech Republic, looks like they have a lot of re-tooling to do before the next round of games on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports


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