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Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 13.29CET
With the vocal backing of their own supporters driving them on, Poland will hope to make a big impression on home soil in just their second UEFA European Championship final tournament.

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Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 13.29CET


With the vocal backing of their own supporters driving them on, Poland will hope to make a big impression on home soil in just their second UEFA European Championship final tournament.

Best EURO performance: final tournament 2008
Coach: Franciszek Smuda
Leading scorer: all-time – Włodzimierz Lubański (48); current – Euzebiusz Smolarek (20)
Most appearances: all-time – Michał Żewłakow (102); current – Dariusz Dudka (63)
Association formed: 1919
Nickname: Biało-czerwoni (White and reds)

FIFA World Cup semi-finalists in 1974 and 1982, Poland had to wait until 2008 before making their UEFA European Championship debut. Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker's side exited after the group stage, as they had at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and their bid to reach South Africa two years ago ended when they finished fifth in their six-team qualifying group. It is all a far cry from their heyday of the 1970s and early 1980s. Yet with a squad including many players not even born then and some positive friendly results, home comforts could bring the best of Franciszek Smuda's co-hosts.

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
Qualified automatically as hosts

Over the past 18 months Poland's friendly results have included wins against Ivory Coast, Norway and Argentina. They have also held Germany and Greece to draws but have struggled for consistency, losing 2-0 to Lithuania.

Nine of the XI that started November's 2-0 loss to Italy were 28 or younger, including Wojciech Szczęsny (21), Robert Lewandowski (23) and Jakub Błaszczykowski, their captain at 25.

Former skipper Michał Żewłakow, now 35, retired from international football on 29 March after winning his 102nd cap – a Poland record – in the goalless draw with Greece.

"We have made mistakes, but that happens in friendlies – we will only be 100% ready in May 2012," said Smuda. "We've met big teams and in most cases we didn't feel inferior. The players gained belief that they can perform during the finals. We are heading in the right direction."

EURO pedigree
Twice third at FIFA World Cups and 1972 Olympic gold medallists, Poland had to wait until 2008 before finally reaching the UEFA European Championship at the 13th time of asking. Leo Beenhakker's side topped a qualifying group featuring Portugal, Serbia, Finland and Belgium.

The Biało-czerwoni made a limited impression in Austria and Switzerland, managing one goal – scored by Brazilian-born Roger Guerreiro – and one point as they finished bottom of their section.

The closest Poland had previously come to qualifying was in 1976 and 1980. In 1976 they missed out on goal difference to a Netherlands side that barred their path again four years later when they recovered from 2-0 down to beat East Germany and pip Poland by a point.

UEFA EURO 2012 Group A fixtures
Friday 8 June: Poland v Greece, 18.00CET, Warsaw
Tuesday 12 June: Poland v Russia, 20.45CET, Warsaw
Saturday 16 June: Czech Republic v Poland, 20.45CET, Wroclaw

Team EURO records
Matches played

Overall: P93 W38 D25 L30 F132 A104
Final tournament: P3 W0 D1 L2 F1 A4
Qualifying: P90 W38 D24 L28 F131 A100

Click here for extensive list of records

Last updated 19 December 2011

Last updated: 06/12/13 4.43CET

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