It’s here, at last. Warsaw is the starting point as co-hosts Poland get Euro 2012 underway against the 2004 winner. Any comments? Leave them below, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @thescore_ie.
Full-Time: Poland 1-1 Greece
16.20 – Here we are, here we go, olé olé and all that brouhaha. It’s time for the European Championships. We’re starting off with coverage of Poland and Greece, all the while scrutinising the many sweeping statements of Eamon, Liam and John.
Oh, and Billo. The daddy.
Eamon thinks Italy are no great shakes after losing “the left-back” to a match fixing scandal. Of course, nobody could reasonably expect him to remember the name Domenico Criscito.
Liam also thinks the Italians are muck, but that Croatia will go through at Ireland’s expense.
John has thus far failed to be interesting.
There has been little to no mention of the opening game just yet.
16.26 – Revelation: Spain are good. Thanks lads. Also, Eamon’s claim that Modric was poor last season – spoken while footage of his piledriver against Liverpool was playing – is a classic Dunphyism.
Still, this is miles better than anything the BBC or ITV will have to offer.
16.29 – Did he just say that? Dodgy territory from Liam there, alluding to Gianluigi Buffon’s g***ling pr***ems. “I wonder if he’s betting on his own games?”
16.41 – Eamon has done his round-up of Poland’s three best players, and we get the feeling he’s been reading our news stories. Both he and Bill have mentioned the fact that Lewandowski is off to Manchester United.
Szczesny is ‘a very talented boy, playing in his home city, but he’s an arrogant boy,’ according to Brady.
John thinks Greece are very difficult to beat and they’re more ‘hard work’ than ‘class.’ Incisive.
16.41 – Now it’s time for the opening ceremony…
16.45 – It seems our colleague Sean Farrell is a little impatient for the action to begin…
16.47 – Lots of razz and even more matazz.
No, I have no idea what that sentence means either.
There’s dancing and Chopin and miniature football pitches. George Hamilton: “Colourful it certainly is. I just hope the football afterwards matches it.”
16.51 – We’re ten minutes away from kick-off, and Ronnie Whelan is “roasting.” He says a player wants to feel the air and the rain, despite the great atmosphere in the stadium.
16.53 – Right, we’re at the business end of proceedings. Here are the teams for the opening game of Euro 2012:
Poland: Szczesny, Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch, Murawski, Polanski, Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus, Lewandowski.
Subs: Sandomierski, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Dudka, Matuszczyk, Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek, Tyton.
Greece: Chalkias, Torosidis, Papastathopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Holebas, Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Ninis, Gekas, Samaras.
Subs: Tzorvas, Tzavelas, Malezas, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Salpingidis, Fotakis, Fortounis, Fetfatzidis, Sifakis
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain).
16.54 – A bit incongruous this – the players will emerge to the strains of UK indie darlings The XX. Oh no, they won’t, the music has stopped.
17.00 – What else is on?
17.02 – Let the fun and games (and sendings off and general mayhem and last minute winners and…) begin…
The game has kicked off!
17.05 – A couple of early free-kicks as the referee applies the letter of the law early on. The teams are feeling each other out (no sniggering down the back, it’s common football parlance).
Lewandowski threatens for Poland but Greek goalkeeper Chalkias, the tournament’s oldest player at 38, saves.
The ball falls once again to the Borussia Dortmund striker – another save – the ball lands at the feet of Murawski, and Chalkias tips athletically over the bar. Close for Poland.
17.09 – Seven minutes into the game and Greece have yet to threaten. We doubt there are too many of you that have Georgios Samaras down as top scorer for the tournament, handsome devil though he might be.
17.11 – The stadium roof remains shut and the atmosphere is electric, it’s a constant swirl of noise in Warsaw.
Was that a vuvuzela?
17.14 – Greece’s first chance of the game. The ball is whipped in and Theofanis Gekas heads just wide of Szczesny’s goal.
Poland counter immediately, the ball bounces in front of captain Jakub Błaszczykowski, and he shoots wildly over the bar.
17.16 – So close! Piszczek gets free down the right – Samaras failing to track him in any meaningful way – and has ages to pick out Lewandowski. He fails, as the Polish striker fails to get his head on a poor ball.
Poland have been the far better side, so we’re expecting a Greek opener any minute now.
17.19 – Poland have scored!
Poland 1-0 Greece.
Robert Lewandowski scores his 15th international goal in 43 appearances as he head magnificently home from a Rybus cross. Greece have been tortured down the right, the warning signs were there, they didn’t heed them, they are losing.
17.23 – Avraam Papadopoulos is down and receiving treatment for Greece. Have I mentioned how shockingly dreadful they’ve been?
Greece have been shockingly dreadful. Poland are passing the ball around with panache, playing some lovely stuff, hope this is a sign of a great tournament to come.
Papadopoulos, on the verge of an amputation just moments ago, is not even limping.
It’s a miracle.
17.27 – Follow this man…
17.29 – Ronnie Whelan: If in doubt, add an extra ‘-opoulos.’
Poland are laying siege to the Greek box but the ‘visitors’ are holding firm, without presenting any kind of a threat up front. We hope Trap is watching, taking note of how not to make a technically limited side play.
17.30 – All of that being said, Greece have a free-kick in a menacing position. Sotiris Ninis’ cross comes to nothing, Poland counter, and the game descends into scrap.
17.32 – Here it is – the first goal of Euro 2012…
YouTube credit: GolesAiToque
17.39 – Greece are making a change, with Kyriakos Papadopoulos replacing namesake (but not relation) Avraam Papadopoulos. Ronnie tells us that the incoming player is no relation to the former Liverpool defender, whose surname was Kyrgiakos. With a ‘g’. Not even his first name.
Damien Perquis shoots wide for the Poles, back on the pitch. He really ought to have tested Chalkias.
17.43 – Five minutes remain in the first half. Greece’s best player has probably been the young winger Ninis but his quality has not been matched by his team-mates. He’s trying to get the ball to a man who has often played second fiddle to Kris Commons.
17.46 – We have our first red card of the tournament! Sokratis Papastathopoulos walks for a second yellow card, and the 2004 winners are missing their first choice central defensive partnership.
He’s reluctant to go, gesticulating wildly to his manager, and it did look like a very soft booking. Harsh refereeing.
17.48 – José Holebas is booked by the referee, who raises his card in a very ‘Fast Show-esque,’ comedy manner. An over-eager, fussy little jobsworth of an official. Quote us on that.
17.51 – We have the half-time whistle. Poland lead 1-0 thanks to Robert Lewandowski, while Greece’s defender Sokratis has been sent off for two bookable offences. The referee wants to make a name for himself, but even he can’t subdue what has been a pulsating opening half of the tournament.
17.52 – We’re off for a half-time cup of tea now, back shortly for the second half.
18.06 – We’re back, and hoping that referee Carlos Velasco Carballo does not make a pig’s ear of this half, as he did the first. He has now sent off 17 players in his last 20 games.
That is ridiculous.
The game has kicked off again, and Greece are now playing with just a single striker in Gekas.
18.07 – Piszczek rampages forward once again and finds Lewandowski, but the goalscorer is off balance and shoots over.
18.13 – Wow! Greece have equalised out of nowhere! Dimitris Salpingidis becomes the first ever Greek player to score in both the European Championships and the World Cup.
The ball sails over from the right and Poland make a hash of clearing it. Substitute Salpingidis can’t believe his luck, he can’t miss it, he doesn’t.
Poland looked complacent at the start of the second half and they’ve been punished. Terrible defending.
18.17 – Greece surround the referee for the 27th time after he awards a free-kick to Poland. He remains unmoved, Obraniak lines up the effort but shoots it wide.
The replay of the goal shows how culpable Szczesny is, faffing at the ball when he should be far more commanding.
18.20 – We’re fifteen minutes into the second half and the tempo in not as good as the opening 45 minutes. Greece are cynical, Poland look wounded, it doesn’t make for great football despite the jubilation in the crowd.
18.26 – Of all the things in life, being called a ‘less skilful Gary Doherty’ must sting. But that exactly what one of our Twitter comrades, Peter Boyle, had called Samaras.
Gekas is replaced by the 19-year-0ld Kostas Fortounis, who will earn his fourth cap.
18.29 – It’s a penalty to Greece and Szczesny has been sent off!
Fortounis sends the ball up towards Salpingidis and the Arsenal goalkeeper takes down the goalscorer. Needless by Szczesny. Salpingidis has made a huge difference.
Przemysław Tyton is brought on and now faces a penalty from Karagounis…
The veteran misses! Great save by Tyton!
18.33 – That really was magnificent from the man who replaced the impressive Maciej Rybus. Szczesny is caught on camera watching the penalty in the tunnel, he thumps the floor in delight.
Meanwhile, Salpingidis thinks he has put Greece 2-1 up but Samaras is flagged offside. This is a cracking match again.
18.38 – There’s a push on Obraniak by Papadopoulos, but the Pole was clearly looking for it.
18.39 – Samaras gets the ball and then Heskeys it over the bar.
18.42 – A shot from Polanski fails to trouble Chalkias. Poland have been nowhere in this half, Lewandowski utterly redundant.
18.44 – The Polish fans jump up and down in raptures!
They don’t realise that Lewandowski’s volley has hit the side netting. He needn’t have bothered.
18.46 – Karagounis lines up a free-kick won by Samaras, it’s not a good one. The Greek captain has had a nightmare. Not only the penalty miss, he has been anonymous throughout the game.
18.48 – The Polish fans are not best pleased, the Greeks are shouting and screaming for a winner. We’re thirty seconds from injury-time.
18.50 – Błaszczykowski attacks down the right and fires in a cross that Greece clear. It’s Poland’s first corner of the second half, and it sails out of play.
18.54 – Polish coach Smuda looks like he’s about to make a substitution. That’s a strange one – the way his team has played in the second half, you’d swear he’d want the whistle to be blown as soon as possible.
He doesn’t get time, the match is over, and it’s ended Poland 1-1 Greece.
The home side were impressive in the first half but Greece’s resilience told, Salpingidis equalising Lewandowski’s first half header.
Wojciech Szczesny got himself sent off by fouling the Greek scorer, but Giorgos Karagounis could not beat Przemysław Tyton from the penalty spot.
A fine opening game to Euro 2012, thanks for keeping up, and we’ll be back shortly with coverage of Russia v Czech Republic.