Poland coach Franciszek Smuda
said high expectations as 2012 co-hosts got to his young and
inexperienced side after Greece overcame a sluggish start to
earn a 1-1 draw in their Group A opener on Friday.
The Poles needed a second-half penalty save by little-known
goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton to earn a point despite a rousing start.
"We were really prepared and you could see the effects of
all our training sessions," Smuda told a news conference.
"Perhaps the team had too much pressure. The team is young."
Smuda said Poland, playing in front of a capacity home crowd
of 56,000 fans at the National stadium, became too defensive
after Greece lost Sokratis Papastathopoulos to a red card
shortly before halftime.
"We wanted to maintain the [1-0] score. We played sideways
and backwards," he said. "The Greeks had nothing to lose."
Smuda praised replacement keeper Tyton, who saved Giorgos
Karagounis's penalty with his first touch 20 minutes from time
after Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for bringing down Dimitris
"Tyton, at the clubs where he played was really spectacular
at [saving] penalty kicks," Smuda said.
Striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored a 17th minute opener
and was a constant menace to the Greek defence, said the Poles
showed they were good enough to reach the quarter-finals.
"We're still in the game. I hope that if we play like we
played in the first half, we could win the next two games," he
Poland, the lowest ranked team at the tournament, face
Russia in the capital on Tuesday.
"I congratulated the players on this game," Smuda said. "I
told them cheer up because it would be much worse if we had
lost. We should not dwell on this result."
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