Poland will not fade against
Russia as they did in Friday's 1-1 draw against Greece at Euro
2012, coach Franciszek Smuda promised on Monday, adding that the
Poles were focused only on the game and not off-field tensions
The Poles dominated the first half of the tournament's
opening fixture, but flagged badly in the second with many
commentators blaming the humid atmosphere under the national
stadium's closed roof.
UEFA has said that weather-permitting the roof will be open
and Smuda said the Poles had made a point of asking that it not
"Maybe yes, [we flagged] because of the closed roof," Smuda
said. "I do not want to make excuses, but we have done
everything, we have asked UEFA. I believe the roof will be open.
"I guarantee that we will last 90 minutes in this game. And
for sure it will be a game at a good pace and we will for sure
last till the end."
Polish authorities have also been working hard to calm
concerns that the Group A clash could prove one of the
tournament's flashpoints, exacerbated by plans for Russian fans
to march together to the game through Warsaw on Tuesday.
Smuda said he was "not interested" in the historical and
political issues between the Poles and their Soviet era masters.
"We in general are not thinking about this at all," he told
a news conference. "We are thinking about football and what
takes place on the streets - we are less interested in that. We
are concentrating on the game."
Polish media speculation about Smuda's line-up has focused on
the chances he will drop either Ludovic Obraniak or Maciej Rybus
for one of two Turkish-based players, Adrian Mierzejewski or
Kamil Grosicki, in search of more creativity up front.
But he could choose to replace Obraniak with defensive
midfielder Dariusz Dudka, seeking to stem the tide against a
Russian attack that lit up the tournament's first round of
Dudka was the player picked to attend Monday's news
conference, prompting speculation that meant Smuda was ready to
The coach would not be drawn, but after a barrage of
questions on the issue, Smuda joked that it had been team
spokesman Tomasz Rzasa's decision and that he had told Rzasa it
was a huge mistake.
"Darek is here because the team spokesman asked him to be, I
just said I had no problem with that," Smuda said.
"For sure Darek is a solid player. I have not decided yet [who will start]. Let me say again that I decide, I never let
myself be influenced by what the public or you tell me to do."
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