Poland midfielder Eugen Polanski believes a fast start to the European Championships against Greece is vital for his under-rated side.
Coming into the tournament, Poland may be one of the host nations, but with a FIFA ranking of number 65 in the world, they are a long way behind their Group A opponents Russia (world number 11), Greece (14) and Czech Republic (26).
Although Greece won the 2004 European Championships, Group A is without all the major favourites for this year’s competition in Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
And, with such an open group, 26-year-old Mainz midfielder Polanski believes getting a fast start may just be enough to take his side through to the quarter-finals.
“It’s important to win the first game and start the tournament with three points,” Polanski said.
“Once we achieve this, we will focus on other challenges that lie ahead.
“For the time being, there’s not much I can say about our upcoming game with Greece, all I know is that they are tough opponents, with remarkable defensive skills.
“But we will cause them some problems as well – that’s for sure.”
It is only the second time Poland have competed at the European Championships, having made their maiden appearance in 2008, with the co-hosts looking to improve on that effort where they were knocked out in the group stages.
Although they boast some serious talent in Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski and midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski, who is also the Polish skipper, goalkeeper Grzegorz Sandomierski said the Poles cannot simply rely on their stars to shine if they hope to advance.
“We all realise that, for us, we could be involved in this tournament for the whole month,” Sandomierski said.
“That is why we all have to be prepared to come out onto the pitch at any time and try to make that one decisive pass, to score or to make a save.
“The fate of the whole tournament might be in the hands of one person in this team.
“We are aware that we will all be useful at some point, if not on the pitch, then outside, where we must stay strong psychologically.
“We have to support each other. It is crucial for this team to be absolutely united.
“Only then will we be able to achieve a number of great things.”
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