Poland coach Franciszek Smuda has
come under fire for not refreshing his flagging side with
substitutions in their Euro 2012 opener with Greece and will
have to make changes for Tuesday's politically-charged clash
Local media and fans were unhappy that Smuda failed to
replace players like left-back Sebastian Boenisch, who was the
most obvious struggler in a poor second half performance during
their 1-1 draw in Group A on Friday.
The Poles looked worn out after pressing Greece strongly for
half an hour under the national stadium's closed-roof humidity.
Midfielders Maciej Rybus and Ludovic Obraniak will be
pressed by Kamil Grosicki and Rafal Wolski for places against
Russia, although Smuda is known for sticking to his guns.
His only change was the forced introduction of Przemyslaw
Tyton, who saved a penalty after the sending off of Wojciech
Szczesny, as both sides finished the game with 10 men.
"Smuda very clearly goes weak at the knees at the very
thought of the tiniest change in his opening line-up," Rafal Stec
wrote in the country's main broadsheet daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
"Its terrifying to think what might happen if we had further
suspensions. All of the reserves now also know clearly how
little trust he has in them."
The clash with their Soviet era masters in Warsaw on Tuesday
carries special meaning for the Poles after a plane crash two
years ago that killed then president Lech Kaczynski and for
which many still blame the Russians.
On the field, an Andrei Arshavin-inspired Russia's 4-1
drubbing of the Czech Republic in Friday's late game struck fear
into fans of the host nation, who feel they must take at least a
point from the game to keep alive any hopes of qualifying.
Newspaper headlines talked of the Russian "hurricane" set to
descend on Warsaw.
"If we play as we did in the first half against Greece, and
as Greece played in the second half against us, then there's a
chance we could lose by less than the Czechs," commentator
Michal Pol tweeted after the Russia game.
Greece next face the Czech Republic in a virtual home game
for Vladimir Smicer's side in Wroclaw just a few miles from the
Czech border, without their two first-choice centre backs.
Coach Fernando Santos will be without the suspended Sokratis
Papastathopoulos, who was sent off against the Poles, and
Avraam Papadopoulos who is out of the tournament with a knee
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