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Poland must 'stop the Russians' in Euro 2012 face off: Press

All eyes on hosts of EURO 2012, Poland when they play Russia Tuesday

AFP, Monday 11 Jun 2012
Czech Republic and Russia
English referee Howard Webb briefly halts the match after a flare was thrown onto the pitch during the Group A Euro 2012 soccer match between Czech Republic and Russia (Photo: Reuters)

Polish media called on the Poland side to "stop the Russians" in Tuesday's high-octane Euro 2012 Group A clash in Warsaw which could decide the fate of the co-hosts in the tournament.

Russia top the group with three points after one match with the Poles on a point and defeat for the co-hosts would be a serious blow to their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

"The goal for tomorrow: stop the Russians," the centre-left daily Gazeta Wyborcza said Monday. "It's a battle for the result, for honour, for our place in history," it added.

"A decisive encounter," the daily Polska said. "Wake up! Russia or death!" the Wprost weekly chimed.

Other newspapers slammed Poland's coach Franciszek Smuda for not making changes during the second half of Friday's match between Poland and Greece that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Russia began with a bang Friday when it trounced the Czech Republic 4-1 in Poland's southwestern city of Wroclaw on the opening day of the 16-nation, quadrennial Euro 2012 football showcase.

Poland and Russian will face off in the tournament on Tuesday at Poland's new national stadium in Warsaw.

The tabloid Fakt gave selection advice to Smuda in its Monday headline, while the tabloid Super Express showed him in uniform, on horseback, clutching a sword, and called for "a second Miracle on the Vistula," a reference to an historic 1920 battle won by Poland against all odds against the Russians.

The Polish edition of the weekly Newsweek echoed the allusion with mention of "The Battle of Warsaw" 2012.

Other newspapers highlighted the weight of shared history and politics that hangs over Tuesday's match.

Sporting encounters between Poland and Russia always have an extra edge due to antipathy spanning the Tsarist and Soviet eras, stoked by Moscow's resurgence under President Vladimir Putin.

Co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine the Euro 2012 championships are being held behind the former Iron Curtain for the first time. The games kicked off Friday in Warsaw ahead of the July 1 final in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

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