Jerzy Dudek was a proud viewer of the UEFA EURO 2012 draw in Warsaw on Sunday and the Real Madrid CF goalkeeper said: "If we organise the EURO finals at the same level we organised the draw, we will have a wonderful football event."
Dudek was present in Cardiff in April 2007 when the UEFA Executive Committee selected Ukraine and his native Poland as co-hosts for the 2012 event. Although club commitments meant the 59-times capped Polish international could not attend the draw in person, he was delighted with what he saw.
"I watched the gala on TV in Madrid and I really felt proud," Dudek told UEFA.com. "It was the first big Polish test before the EURO finals and I think we proved that we are able to organise big events. This one at the Palace of Science and Culture was as good as galas which are usually held in other places."
The former Feyenoord and Liverpool FC No1 was especially impressed with the welcoming speech by Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk. "I was glad when I heard him open the event speaking English," Dudek said. "This was really nice to hear. When I was invited to Cardiff, when I was supporting Poland and Ukraine's candidature, I was originally going to speak Polish. But Serhiy Bubka and others told me to speak English as it would make a better impact.
"I did so and the I feel the same after Mr Tusk's speech. The whole world was able to understand him and it is also a crucial issue – to show everyone that when they come to the EURO finals they will have no problems with communication as many Poles speak other languages."
The tournament kicks off in Warsaw on 8 June 2012 and Dudek knows the next two years will be a time of hard toil in Poland as people prepare for the biggest football event the nation has hosted. "I am pretty sure we will build fantastic stadiums but I think we must also focus hard on infrastructure improvements," he said. "I would also like to warn about our winter. We are now having a severe one in Poland which is lasting for a long time. It definitely makes our preparations harder and that is why we must work even faster in the warmer months."
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