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A nation's hope: Poland must win to continue Euro dream

The co-hosts have impressed greatly, but could be bowing out of their own tournament tonight.

Captain Jakub Blaszczykowski.
Captain Jakub Blaszczykowski.
Image: Sergey Ponomarev/AP/Press Association Images

DESPITE TWO GOOD performances at Euro 2012, co-hosts Poland must win their final group game against the Czech Republic to advance from Group A.

Poland have drawn their opening two group matches of the European Championship and know that anything other than victory on Saturday against the Czechs will mean their time at the tournament is over.

Greece fought back for a 1-1 draw in Poland’s first match of Euro 2012 and then showed plenty of determination to manage the same score against Russia on Tuesday.

But with the Czechs beating Greece 2-1 on Tuesday, Poland need to win to qualify for the quarter-finals. Russia top Group A with four points, ahead of Czech Republic (three points), Poland (two) and Greece (one).

To achieve victory on Saturday, Poland will need to find a way to score more goals.

Poland’s two goals so far have been impressive with Robert Lewandowski powerfully heading home Jakub Blaszczykowski’s cross against Greece, while the latter, who is also Poland’s captain, struck a stunning goal to equalise against Russia.

But coach Franciszek Smuda will stress the importance of taking chances as Poland have had 18 shots, with 13 on target, in their two games so far.

However, Smuda will need to fashion one of his players into a goalscorer because apart from Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski, no other Polish player in their Euro 2012 squad has reached 10 goals in their international career.

Importantly for Poland, they should face a goalkeeper out of form in Saturday’s match in Wroclaw.

Confidence

Czech Republic’s Petr Cech has let in five goals from 12 shots on target so far at the continental championships and has not been helped by poor defending.

In fact, Czech Republic have conceded almost two goals per game on average in 2012, which will give Poland plenty of confidence ahead of Saturday’s match.

Smuda is hopeful defender Damien Perquis, as well as midfielders Dariusz Dudka and Eugen Polanski, will be fit after suffering injuries against Russia.

Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky may not play in Wroclaw after admitting he can barely stand due to an injured Achilles tendon, while there is also some doubt on Cech who has a shoulder problem.

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