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The Warsaw Voice » Society » June 11, 2008
EURO 2008
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Logic Beats Romance: Germany 2, Poland 0
June 11, 2008   
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Poland lost 2-0 to Germany in their Euro 2008 opener in Klagenfurt, Austria, June 8, providing a cold shower for fans who had pinned high hopes on their country's debut in the European soccer championships.

Polish-born striker Lukas Podolski, one of several key players of Polish origin who have played for Germany in recent years, scored the first goal in the 20th minute and then sealed the win by finding the net again 18 minutes before the end of the game.

Before the match, Polish fans held passionately to the hope that Poland would for the first time triumph over Germany, three-time European champions and one of the world's highest ranked teams. Previously they had watched their team lose 1-0 to Germany in the 2006 World Cup.

Despite losing the match, the Polish team played a lot better than the scoreline indicated. Both teams looked equally dangerous from a statistical perspective, with 11 strikes apiece at each other's goals.

The Poles played better than in 2006, showing fervor and determination under experienced Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker. Brazilian-born substitute Roger Guerreiro, who came on at half time, was arguably the best performer for the Polish team, creating a number of goal scoring opportunities with his creative dribbling and passing.

Overall, the game was tight, and although Poland's stars did not perform as well as hoped, some of the younger players-who barely made the squad-looked threatening. Łukasz Piszczek, called up two days before the match to replace injured star Jakub Błaszczykowski, shone. The Poles only stopped threatening the Germans after the second goal near the end of the match.

Podolski had 26 of his Polish relatives supporting Poland from the stands. Born in Gliwice in southern Poland, he was two when his family moved to Germany, and a decade and a half afterwards made his way up the scoring charts to eventually play for Bayern Munich, the most successful German soccer team.

Germany remain undefeated against Poland, adding their 12th win to four draws in their 16th run-in with the Poles.

Poland now need to win both of their remaining games against Austria and Croatia to advance from Group B. Judging by how well both of their opponents played on the weekend, this will be no easy task. Polish fans will be demanding a more decisive if not less inspired performance against both remaining opponents in the group.

A day before the Poland-Germany game, in the opening match of the European championships, the experienced Czech side downed co-host Switzerland 1-0. Later that same evening, a highly rated Portugal disposed of a Turkish team (2-0) that played well but fell victim to their coach's awkward substitutions.

On Saturday an old but skilled Croatia barely managed to defeat a young and physically fit Austrian side 1-0.
Toni Mickiewicz
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