Poland's last four Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 have been unveiled including two FIFA World Cup semi-finalists and a multiple Olympic medallist.
As with many of their predecessors, former Polish internationals Paweł Janas and Włodzimierz Smolarek, ex-Olympic fencer Ryszard Parulski and singer Patrycja Markowska were introduced on popular morning television show Kawa czy Herbata (Tea or Coffee). They take the total of Polish Friends of EURO to 51, to be joined by 49 competition winners and 100 others from co-hosts Ukraine.
As a defender Janas was capped 53 times and helped Poland to third place at the 1982 World Cup. The former Widzew Łódź, Legia Warszawa and AJ Auxerre player went on to coach the capital club to the UEFA Champions League and his country to the 2006 World Cup. "I feel special emotions about the new National Stadium in Warsaw," Janas said. "In the last match the Polish national team played at the old venue [a 1984 UEFA European Championship qualifier against Finland] I scored an own goal. After that the stadium was closed for football events."
Smolarek played alongside Janas at the 1982 World Cup as well as at Widzew and Legia. The former Eintracht Frankfurt, Feyenoord and FC Utrecht forward later took on a youth development role with the Polish Football Federation (PZPN). The father of current Polish international Euzebiusz Smolarek, he said: "I am sure Poland will show its best to the rest of Europe, especially in terms of giving friendly support to the players on the pitch."
Parulski gained sporting fame of a different field, winning fencing Olympic silver in 1964 and bronze four years later. Meanwhile singer Markowska is the daughter of another Friend of EURO, vocalist Grzegorz Markowski from the Polish band Perfect. "I see the new National Stadium in Warsaw every day as I live close by," she said. "I know the special feeling you get at live concerts so I can imagine the same emotions happening at a football match."
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