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Poles coming to the boil, says coach
Published : 12 Jun 2012 23:17:28
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda said his Euro 2012 co-hosts were coming gradually to the boil after Tuesday's gutsy draw with Russia in Group A, which left them needing a result against the Czech Republic in their final pool match.
With the Czechs having beaten Greece and the Russians already having seen off the Czechs 4-1 to bolster their goal difference the Poles will likely have to beat the Czechs to reach the quarter-finals - unless Russia slip up against tailenders Greece.
But Smuda says he feels that his team are improving after they came back from a goal down to take a deserved point against their giant neighbours in an emotionally-charged atmosphere in Warsaw.
"The pressure is always there. It's not growing. I'd say the highest tension and biggest pressure was before the opener, the match with Greece," Smuda said.
"Right now the tournament is up and running and after the first game the pressure's lower and we've got a few days to prepare for the next match... we will fight to the very end against the Czech Republic."
Smuda says the Polish are coming back to prominence after decades in the wilderness.
"We've played many good matches... in 2011 we started to build a team and it proved that we are improving and playing better and better.
"Today's match proved that we are able to win against the Czechs. Our team sees this chance of being promoted to the knockout phase and we'll try to do that," said Smuda, who would not be drawn on whether he would restore Wojciech Szczesny as goalkeeper as he returns from suspension.
Szczesny was red-carded in the opener against Greece and Przemyslaw Tyton came in to save a penalty with his first touch, retaining his place for the Russian test.