Birthday boys Marcin Wasilewski and Kamil Grosicki were left nursing regrets after Friday's 1-1 draw against Greece in the opening game of UEFA EURO 2012. Wasliewski turned 32 today and hoped to celebrate with a victory, while Grosicki, 24 yesterday, was left disappointed both with the result and the fact Wojciech Szczęsny's second-half red card meant he is still waiting for his UEFA European Championship debut.
"It completely spoilt my birthday," said Wasilewski, although his mood was lifted by the good wishes of the 6,000 fans who turned up to watch Poland's second open training session at KSP Polonia Warszawa's stadium on Saturday. "I was pretty sure my birthday was going to be a memorable occasion, but the result and the way we played in the second half means I've not really been able to enjoy today."
Grosicki was stripped and poised to make his EURO bow in the 69th minute when Szczęsny was shown a red card after bringing down Dimitris Salpingidis. As a result coach Franciszek Smuda was forced to sacrifice Maciej Rybus for reserve goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń, leaving the Sivasspor midfielder to return to the bench.
"Of course it was disappointing not to get onto the pitch," said Grosicki. "It was my birthday yesterday and when I got the call to come on I thought this was going to be a special moment in my career. Then Wojciech was sent off and another change had to be made. It's disappointing for me personally, but the team is the most important thing."
The focus now turns to Tuesday's second Group A match against neighbours Russia, who sent out a powerful signal of intent with an impressive 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic. However, the experienced Wasilewski – the only man to play every EURO finals match for Poland having also featured in all three of their fixtures in 2008 – reckons Poland will benefit from being the underdogs ahead of the game in Warsaw, provided they eliminate the mistakes they made against Greece.
"I've been thinking since last night and I still can't find an answer as to why we went to sleep in the second half," he said. “We invited Greece to start playing, even though they were asleep too. We gave them space and they used it. For the Russia game, the pressure is more on them than us. They play an open game, so there might be more openings we can exploit, but we need to play consistently for 90 minutes and not 45 like we did in the first game."
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