Tickets for the UEFA EURO 2012 final tournament go on sale for a month on Tuesday – and Polish tournament ambassador Andrzej Szarmach, veteran of three FIFA World Cup finals, tells Alive, the official newsletter of the UEFA European Football Championship, that the "temperature is rising" in his homeland.
Alive: How are preparations going?
Everything is moving in the right direction, work is progressing well and I believe this will be a great tournament.
Alive: What has been the biggest achievement since Poland was chosen to co-host the event?
Szarmach: The stadiums and how they are growing, such as Wroclaw, Warsaw. It is reassuring and shows we are able to do it.
Alive: What impact will the tournament have on the development of the host cities, such as your native Gdansk?
Szarmach: Gdansk is changing at a fast pace and the opportunity to show it in the best possible light to foreign as well as the Polish football fans is an added motivation. As sportsmen we are most interested in the venues. Watching the stadium being built makes me happy, because it will be a beautiful place. But it's not only the stadium that is attractive – Gdansk's city centre and the whole tri-city area in Poland is becoming more appealing.
Alive: What influence will UEFA EURO 2012 have on improving Poland's infrastructure aside from the stadia?
Szarmach: It will speed up significantly certain building schemes that had perhaps already been planned, such as motorways, train stations, airports etc. Without EURO 2012 it would have taken much more time than it will now because of the commitments which the country, the PZPN [Polish Football Federation] and everyone else has undertaken to be ready for the tournament.
Alive: Will the reality that Poland is going to co-host UEFA EURO 2012 sink in when tickets go on sale?
Szarmach: Certainly. The temperature is rising. The closer to the EURO we get, the more interested everyone is and you can feel it now. Everyone is concerned about our national team, which players will play and how they will play. There is a lot of interest already.
Alive: Next summer it will be 30 years since the Poland team you played in finished third at the 1982 World Cup. Does that side still symbolise Polish football?
Szarmach: We are still remembered, even by the younger fans, which is satisfying. Our team, the coaches and the PZPN members should do everything they can to succeed in this coming tournament. I'm sure if a younger national team achieved something, either at a European Championship or World Cup, then our success would be eclipsed by that of the younger team. There is an opportunity as we are one of the organisers and are playing at home.
This interview is taken from the latest edition of Alive, the official newsletter of the UEFA European Football Championship, which is out on Tuesday.
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