Football fans in Wroclaw will be able to see Polish stars Jakub Błaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski and Łukasz Piszczek in the flesh come the co-hosts' final Group A game, but supporters can already get a little closer to their heroes at the city's 'Only A Game?' exhibition.
The exhibition, which opened in mid-May and runs through to the UEFA EURO 2012 final on 1 July, is housed in the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, where shirts of the Polish trio are displayed alongside more than 100 exhibits from some of the European game's biggest names. Shirts worn by stars of yesteryear, such as Franz Beckenbauer, Ferenc Puskás and Zinédine Zidane, are on show alongside those of Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas, Wayne Rooney and Petr Čech, who will be aiming to keep Lewandowski and Co at bay when the Czechs meet Poland in Wroclaw on 16 June.
With the tournament's big kick-off still a day away, a growing number of fans are getting their football fix at the exhibition. "Many people are interested. The closer the start of the tournament gets, the more visitors we have," said Marcin, an employee at the museum. "Our visitors are mostly interested in the signed shirts. They take photos, especially beside the signed shirts of [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo."
While the Argentine and Portuguese stars grab most of the attention thanks to their on-pitch exploits, the exhibition also aims to encourage visitors to explore other aspects of the game. A series of weekly meetings and lectures highlight social fair play while modern multimedia exhibits allow young and old to broaden their footballing horizons. There is also a gallery dedicated to football in Wroclaw, the home of the reigning Polish champions, WKS Śląsk Wroclaw.
Giant replicas of all eight different models of ball used at UEFA European Championship tournaments since 1984 stand proudly outside the museum, and, having tested the limits of their football knowledge in an interactive quiz, fans can even play at being a footballer themselves by autographing a wall inside the exhibition to mark their visit. "I'm not interested in football, but I came here on a school trip and I think it's a very nice exhibition," said Ania, a young visitor to the museum on Wednesday. "I took a real fancy to the signed shirts. They are very interesting."
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