Tuesday, 12 June 2012
The battle of the Eagles (Poland V Russia)
The first set of 8 games is over with a rather remarkable statistic for a big event, there has been a goal scored in every game so far. For those who don’t necessarily follow the game on a regular basis, this is very rare and pleasing for us observers, especially as the early games are usually cagey affairs with teams more scared of losing than trying to win. Yesterday, a draw between England and France was a fair result from a poor game and then the longest serving player in the tournament, the home hero Shevchenko, scored a brace to lead his nation to an opening victory. He gave a master class in how through economy of movement, a 35 year old player could lead his team to victory. Check out the highlights. So the tournament continues and we are back to group A, first up is Greece against the Czech Republic. The Greeks were much better than expected and really should have between Poland and the Czechs were not very good in their thrashing by Russia. This is a must win game for both sides and this will hopefully lead to an entertaining game. The main course tonight throws up a juicy morsel, Poland against Russia. Most people associate Russia with the Bear, but the national emblem is actually a double headed eagle, while Poland’s is a white eagle with one head, so the talons will be sharpened tonight. This blog tends to call on history a lot, as in my opinion, it plays such an important role in the way especially the fans approach a game. An example, if you ask a Serbian why they hate the Bosnians so much, they will remind you of a battle which took place in 1381, the point being here that these nations don’t forget easily. In the case of tonight’s protagonists, the history is more recent. In fact the latest incident took place only two years ago, when a plane carrying the Polish President and a high number of senior military and political figures crashed while coming into land killing over ninety people. For the Pole in the street the Russians were responsible. One more example should suffice, when Poland was carved up between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in 1939, the NKVD (the then name of what most of us know as the KGB) rounded up all the leading military and police officers and intellectuals in the Soviet occupied zone and summarily executed them in what became known as the Katyn forest massacre, the exact numbers are unknown, but the usual figure given is around 13,000. The Russians only owned up in 1989 as the Soviet Union crumbled around them. The Russians looked very good in their first game sweeping forward in wave after wave of Red menace. The Poles were weighed down by national expectations, because of the points mentioned above, it is possible that there is even more pressure on them tonight, as a win against Russia would be far more than a football event. Another very good game in the offing. Tomorrow we shall switch to the Western Front, and especially Germany against Holland, a match up which has produced some classic encounters in its time.