Maciej Żurawski has plenty of respect for Germany but the Poland captain expects his side to outstrip Joachim Löw's charges in Klagenfurt "however well they play".
Article top media content
Poland captain Maciej Żurawski is expecting Germany to be at their best for Sunday's Group B opener between the two teams - but the striker insists he and his team-mates will have "an even better" game at the Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt.
The Germans have been installed as clear favourites to win the group and have been picked out as potential tournament winners, but while 31-year-old Larissa forward Żurawski fully expects Joachim Löw's team to be on the ball, he is confident in his own team's ability. "We respect Germany, they are an excellent team but we are also aware of our value and potential as a team," he said. "We know a lot about what the Germans can do and the way that they will play and we are ready for that. What is important for us is to stick to the plan we have made and make sure we do the things that we want to do."
Poland qualified for UEFA EURO 2008™ in impressive style, finishing top of their group ahead of Portugal, a team which they defeated 2-1 in Chorzow, but Żurawski admits that Poland need to transfer that form to the big stage. "I can guarantee that we will go out and try to win," he said. "If we want to win we have to play as well as we did in the matches against Portugal in qualifying, we have to reproduce the same type of performances here. We certainly won't be hoping that Germany have an off day. I expect them to be excellent but I still believe that we will have an even better game however well they play."
The match evokes memories of the meeting between the two teams at the 2006 FIFA World Cup which Poland lost 1-0. Żurawski, however, who was one of several players in the current squad to have played in that match, sees things differently. He said: "Well, I don't like going back to the past, especially to the World Cup because the situation is different," Żurawski said. "A couple of years have passed since then and this is a completely different tournament. I believe that we are doing things as well as we can in the training sessions and everything is looking good. Everyone is looking well and is in good form and I think we will show that on the pitch tomorrow."