Co-hosts Poland have become the first team to name their provisional squad for UEFA EURO 2012 after Franciszek Smuda revealed his 26-man party, plus seven reserves, at a gala concert in Warsaw on Wednesday.
The likes of Arsenal FC goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and Borussia Dortmund trio Łukasz Piszczek, Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski – all Bundesliga champions – represent the spine of the team. Yet the inclusions of Hannover 96 striker Artur Sobiech, Legia Warszawa forward Michał Kucharczyk and uncapped 19-year-old Rafał Wolski brought a few surprises.
"For the last two and a half years I've had time to recognise what my players can do and I believe the group chosen will give our fans real joy," said Smuda at the event near the Royal Castle. "I know we're under pressure and that's the way it should be. It's normal but we can cope, don't worry, and have players such as the Borussia Dortmund ones who play in front of 80,000 fans every week."
With a nod towards the likes of Sobiech, Kucharczyk and Wolski, Smuda added: "I tried to pick young players not only for EURO but for the future as well. These tournaments always create new names and I believe that two or three or them will be Polish. If we're successful then my players will be heroes, with me in their shadow."
Turning his attention to Group A opponents Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic, the coach said: "Our goal is to advance from the group and I'm convinced we can. Russia have fantastic players, and Greece are a good team, but we are at home and have to do everything to progress."
Provisional Poland squad
Goalkeepers: Łukasz Fabiański (Arsenal FC), Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal FC), Przemysław Tytoń (PSV Eindhoven).
Defenders: Sebastian Boenisch (SV Werder Bremen), Kamil Glik (Torino FC), Tomasz Jodłowiec (KSP Polonia Warszawa), Marcin Kamiński (KKS Lech Poznań), Damien Perquis (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Marcin Wasilewski (RSC Anderlecht), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warszawa), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (KKS Lech Poznań).
Midfielders: Jakub Błaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Dariusz Dudka (AJ Auxerre), Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor), Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895), Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor AŞ), Rafal Murawski (KKS Lech Poznań), Eugen Polanski (1. FSV Mainz), Ludovic Obraniak (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Maciej Rybus (FC Terek Grozny), Rafał Wolski (Legia Warszawa).
Forwards: Paweł Brożek (Celtic FC), Michał Kucharczyk (Legia Warszawa), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Sobiech (Hannover 96).
The following reserves were also named and could still be included in the final 23-man squad: Grzegorz Sandomierski (Jagiellonia Białystok); Arkadiusz Głowacki (Trabzonspor AŞ), Marcin Komorowski (FC Terek Grozny); Ariel Borysiuk (1. FC Kaiserslautern); Ireneusz Jeleń (LOSC Lille Métropole), Arkadiusz Piech (Ruch Chorzów), Michał Żyro (Legia Warszawa).
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