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Poland V Russia : UEFA Euro 2012 Match Preview
Poland braced for high-octane Russian clash
Co-hosts Poland are bracing for what looks the most politically-charged match of the tournament on Tuesday in Warsaw when they face Russia who are on a high after thrashing the Czech Republic 4-1.
With Poland coach Franciszek Smuda tipping Russia as Group A favourites, his squad know they have to prove their staying power after throwing away a lead and drawing 1-1 with Greece in a tense tournament opener in Warsaw's National Stadium on Friday.
"We need to be very focussed, very concentrated, in order not to lose the game," said Smuda.
Dutchman Dick Advocaat's Russia, whose base-camp is in the Polish capital Warsaw, returned there victorious after taking the Czechs to pieces on Friday in the southwestern city of Wroclaw.
"It's going to be another interesting game for both teams," said Advocaat.
"The match with Russia is going to be something completely different," said 22-year-old midfielder Maciej Rybus.
"They don't defend like the Greeks. But we'll have got more used to the championship feel."
Reserve 'keeper Tyton to step in
Poland's man is 23-year-old Robert Lewandowski, fresh from a stellar season with German double winners Borussia Dortmund, who sent home fans wild when he scored on Friday.
Russia know they can rely on CSKA Moscow's 21-year-old Alan Dzagoev, their two-goal hero in Wroclaw, who had been a doubt for the tournament due to a broken toe but is set to play a starring role.
"We know what to look out for, so we know how to correct our mistakes," said Lewandowski. "You can expect a completely different game."
"We can't let ourselves get too carried away," insisted forward Roman Pavlyuchenko, saying the Russians should put Friday's victory behind them.
"The task isn't complete yet and we can't afford to take it easy."
Poland will be without first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, suspended for one match after sent off for tripping Greek attacker Dimitris Salpigidis.
In his place comes overnight hero Przemyslaw Tyton, who came on and saved the ensuing Greek penalty to keep the score level.
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.
That, plus the fact that both Poland and Russia have a hooligan hardcore, has fuelled fears of trouble, heightened when Russian fans beat up Polish match stewards after the Wroclaw match.
Poland V Russia - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.
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