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Optimistic Smuda still believes in Poland

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jun 2012

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Poland manager Franciszek Smuda is still confident his side will progress in Euro 2012, despite their 1-1 draw with Greece.

The co-hosts dominated the first half, taking the lead through Robert Lewandowski inside 20 minutes and seeing opposition defender Sokratis Papadopoulos sent off for a second bookable offence before half-time.

However, Dimitris Salpingidis equalised for the visitors after the restart and Poland were lucky to salvage a point after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off in conceding a penalty, which Przemyslaw Tyton went on to save.

“We are not at a disadvantage,” Smuda told reporters.

“I believe in this team, and know that against Russia they will play a good game.

“We have two meetings left and we have to win them. I think that the first meeting usually ends in a draw.”

He went on to acknowledge that his players face a weight of expectation from the home crowd.

“For sure the players were under pressure.

“Before the match, during the break, I saw their aggression. Perhaps some are burned.”

When asked about back-up goalkeeper Tyton, who saved Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis’ penalty with his first touch of the game, he simply replied: “Tyton came to the goal without a warm-up, and saved a penalty.”

Meanwhile, Greece coach Fernando Santos was delighted with the point.

“We had a golden chance to score a second and if we had managed that, the game would have been over. We didn’t, but I’m very proud of my players,” Santos told reporters.

“We wanted the win and went into the game determined to fight for it. But at the beginning we failed to find the answers to Poland’s questions.

“Afterwards, though, we controlled the ball and created enough chances to score a goal.”

Greece’s next game in Group A is against the Czech Republic on June 12 while Poland play Russia.

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