Euro 2012: Day one as it happened

Live text commentary as Russia thrash Czech Republic after co-hosts Poland are held to a 1-1 draw by Greece in an incident-packed opening game of Euro 2012.

8 June 2012 Last updated at 22:23

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As it happened

  1. 2220: 

    That is it for tonight's live text commentary. Tomorrow, I'll be back to guide you through the day's Group B fixtures after Mr Saj Chowdhury has kicked matters off at 13:00 BST. Join us. You'd be a damn fool not to. I'll see thee.

  2. 2217: 

    Russia coach Dick Advocaat: "We were quite happy about the game. When you score four against Czechs, it's a very good result. We should have scored more because we created a lot of chances."

  3. 2214: 

    If you want to watch today's action again (and surely you do), you can watch the highlights on BBC One at 23:30 BST. I agree it is a bit late, but there is nothing wrong with recording it and watching in your leisure tomorrow. meanwhile, you can watch highlights of the first game and read reports and reaction on this very website. So do it, do it now!

  4. 2210: 

    So, in conclusion: today = very good. Looking forward, tomorrow looks brilliant on paper as Group B steps forward. The first game sees Netherlands play Denmark before Germany face Portugal. Caution, though, for one of the dangers of expectation is the courting of disappointment. Keep your fingers crossed and hope for another day like this.


    Luke Jones on Twitter: "Great stuff from Russia. Dzagoev is class, great performances too by ex-Premier League players with points to prove!"

    Qasim Elegbede on Twitter: "Seven goals; two red cards; a penalty saved and a host other chances missed all in first two games of Euro 2012. Absolutely brilliant!"

  6. 2205: 

    Czech coach Michal Bilek: "We didn't want to let Russia start playing. We had some chances but didn't finish well. We kept losing the ball in the first half and they got the breaks."

  7. 2201:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "From Group B, I think Holland and Germany will qualify. If the two results tomorrow go the way people expect then it's a real knock to Denmark and Portugal. It's a long way back from there. Germany v Portugal tomorrow evening is one that I'm very much looking forward to. Can Portugal get Ronaldo on the ball?"

  8. 2201: 

    Tonight's result also extends Russia's unbeaten streak to a 15th successive match. This is their longest non-losing streak in 16 years. Between 1995 and 1996, they stayed unbeaten in 17 successive matches - a streak that was ended at the 1996 European Championships, when they lost their opening match 2-1 to Italy. Of the other teams competing at Euro 2012, only France are currently on a longer unbeaten run (21 matches).

  9. 2157: 

    Not many people were tipping Russia for Euro 2012, but they will have raised some eyebrows after tonight's display. There remains obvious clear favourites for the tournament but it is good to see that the pool of sides in with a genuine chance remains large.

  10. 2154: 

    In terms of today's talking points, Russia are top courtesy of their superb display, which includes a quality performance from Andrey Arshavin. We must not forget, though, the first game which included a shocker of a refereeing display from Carlos Velasco Carballo, who sent off Greece's Sokratis Papastathopoulos for pretty much nothing and also Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny for giving away a penalty which his replacement Przemyslaw Tyton saved to earn his side a point.


    Joseph on Twitter: "Russians remind me of the great Soviet teams of the past. Oleg Protasov and Igor Belanov come to mind. CCCP anyone?"

    Chris Eastwood on Twitter: "Didn't know the Czech Republic were that weak. Maybe Poland can qualify after all...."

    Chloe Osterloff on Twitter: "My friend told me we wouldn't be watching the Russia/Czech match as it would be 'a boring one.' He is now dead to me!"‪

  12. 2151: 

    Today has made a mockery of suggestions that Group A was the one to avoid. It has been a belting opening day thanks to the tournament's first group, with two entertaining encounters. After this first round of fixtures, Russia head the group as the only team with a win, while their opponents, the Czechs, are bottom, a point behind both hosts Poland and Greece.


    Digant Tyagi on Twitter: "Arshavin takes a lot of pride in the national team. Always willing to put in that extra effort. Alien concept in England sadly."

  14. 2144: 

    To be fair to Czech Republic, they started the game well but simply couldn't live with Russia. They may have taken a pasting tonight but they will still retain hope of getting the results they need against Poland and Greece to progress. The Czech's showed enough to suggest this is a possibility.


    Dev on text: "Alan Dzagoev is up there with Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze and Gansi as one of the worlds most potent young attacking midfielders."

  16. 2142: 

    Arshavin wasn't the only Russian player deserving of credit, though. Alan Dzagoev scored twice and showed exactly why Real Madrid are reportedly keen to sign him, while Yuri Zhirkov and Roman Pavlyuchenko left their own former London employers wondering why it didn't work out.


    Josh Brigham on Twitter: "Russia you dark horses, you! Arshavin what a game he's had. Dzagoev on the other hand, phenomenal!"

    Gianluca Di Meo on Twitter: "Russia looking like a decent outfit in a very dodgy outfit! Will be interested to see how they fair against one of the big guns..."

    Keval Shah on Twitter: "After only two games, this tournament is already better than the World Cup in terms of excitement and quality of football."

  18. 2140: 

    Andrey Arshavin will no doubt claim a large portion of the plaudits in tomorrow's papers. The attacker showed tonight why Arsenal were so delighted to sign him and why they were so disappointed that he failed to consistently deliver. He was central to most of Russia's play and, unlike much of the latter stages of his time in north London, motivated.

  19. 2137:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Russia are my new favourite team. A joy to watch. It's all about skill, and the attitude was great from all. I was a little disappointed by the Czech Republic, though it is the weakest Czech team I've seen for a while. They could still make it through the group though. Russia? They're a stick-on."

  20. 2137: 

    I think it is fair to say that Russia have served notice to the rest of the tournament that they mean business in Poland and Ukraine. Yes, Czech Republic are not the best side they will face in this tournament, but the way they dismantled them was mightily impressive. They scored four and could have had a lot more.

  21. 2136: 
    FULL-TIME- Russia 4-1 Czech Republic
  22. 2136: 

    The ball is in the net courtesy of Czech midfielder Milan Petrzela but he is rightly ruled to have been offside when the ball was played to him in the box. That is surely the last action of this game...

  23. 2134: 

    The 90 minutes are up. Russia are just playing the clock down now. They have been very, very impressive tonight, playing neat, incisive, attacking football. I can't remember a ball played in the air by Dick Advocaat's side.


    Stuart Allen on Twitter: "And that is Czech mate!"

    David Tomkins on Twitter: "Can't keep up with this scoring malarkey. I thought this was going to be a boring match!"

    James Callard on Twitter: "Russia on fire! Beautiful football."


    Owyn in Wales on text: "Fantastic opening day thus far. However, what about the surfaces? Everyone is slipping, and it cuts up consistently when someone goes to ground. Hope they last the three weeks."

  26. 2130: 

    Five minutes to go. The points are going to Russia, who will top Group A tonight. The Czechs have the chance to make the scoreline slightly more respectable but Jaroslav Plasil's free-kick from 25 yards drifts over the bar. Down the other end, Andrey Arshavin leads another Russian charge and cuts inside Michal Kadlec, but his shot from 12 yards is straight at Petr Cech, who saves.

  27. 2127: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Czech Republic - David Lafata on for Milan Baros
  28. 2126: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Russia - Aleksandr Kokorin on for Alan Dzagoev
  29. 2126:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "When Russia are playing like this you don't want to play against them. They've got so much going forward. They are a dangerous-looking outfit."

  30. 2124: 
    GOAL- Russia 4 (Roman Pavlyuchenko) 1 Czech Republic

    That definitely is game over. Russia are running riot and providing a scoreline their dominance deserves. Roman Pavlyuchenko played a key part in the third goal and he plays an even bigger part in the fourth, picking up possession in the box and turning his marker this way and that before firing a superb shot past Petr Cech from 15 yards.

  31. 2121: 
    GOAL- Russia 3 (Alan Dzagoev) 1 Czech Republic

    After battering at the door, Russia finally break through again to surely wrap up this game. Roman Pavlyuchenko is fortunate to recieve possession via a deflection but his pass is class to find Alan Dzagoev and his powerful shot from inside the box beats Petr Cech and finds the net. Cech could have done better, but it matters not now. Russia are heading top of Group A.

  32. 2121: 

    Another good burst from Yuri Zhirkov - and pass from Andrey Arshavin to find him - gives the Russian number five a chance to shoot, but his angled drive from the edge of the box is blocked by Roman Hubnik.


    Barry from Luton on text: "Patient, penetrative, progressive passing = Russia's style of football. A joy to watch at times."

  34. 2118: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Czech Republic - Milan Petrzela on for Petr Jiracek
  35. 2118: 

    We've not seen much of Tomas Rosicky tonight but the Arsenal man almost gets an equaliser for his side. His shot from 20 yards is goal-bound, but is met by a good low save from Russian keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev. This game remains in the balance.


    Opta Sports tweet: "Alexander Kerzhakov had seven shots tonight - all of them off target."

  37. 2115: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Russia - Roman Pavlyuchenko on for Aleksandr Kerzhakov
  38. 2115: 

    Now that's an effort. It is Marco van Basten-esque as a cross to the back post is met on the volley by Theodor Gebre Selassie but the Czech defender's shot is just the wrong side of the post.

  39. 2114:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Russia are still by far the better side, but they have tired in the last few minutes."


    Jarleth Eaton on Twitter: "I do like this end-to-end football being currently played. Great start to Euro 2012."

    Declan Wilson on Twitter: "Love the Euros. 16 teams means far more even games and entertainment throughout."

    David Tomkins on Twitter: "Proper end-to-end stuff here. Brilliant refereeing so far, well done Webby."

  41. 2113: 

    Russia's Aleksandr Kerzhakov is having a bit of a shocker. The number 11 is given possession on the right side of the box courtesy of a pass from Konstantin Zyryanov, but, after cutting inside a Czech defender, he completely fluffs his shot wide of the far post. Russia could have buried this game and the main reason they haven't is Kerzhakov.


    Glen from Kinsley on text: "Unless Roy and the boys have something up their sleeves, on the evidence so far England are gonna struggle."

    Neil in Stevenage on text: "This tournament has started excellently. However I don't think it'll be as good as Euro 2008, because England weren't involved it made for a much more enjoyable spectacle. This time however we're all fearful already at how the French or on this evidence the Russians could tear us apart. Sometimes it's better to view from afar!"

  43. 2110: 

    With the Czechs obliged to chase this game and Russia built to attack, we have an end-to-end contest developing. The Czechs come forward but the move breaks down, allowing Russia to hit back. Aleksandr Kerzhakov is again given possession on the right and again he skews his shot from outside the box well, well wide of goal.

  44. 2108:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "The game is incredibly open. There's 70 or 80 yards between the two defences which means we've got masses of room in the midfield."

  45. 2108: 

    Russia still look the more likely to cause damage when they come forward and Andrey Arshavin is playing the key role in that. He cuts in from the right and flicks a superb pass to Aleksandr Kerzhakov. The striker has only the keeper to beat from 10 yards out out on angle but he drags his shot dreadfully wide if the far post. That was a glorious chance to put his side firmly back in control.


    Matt from Greenwich on text: "Howard Webb has done an excellent job compared with his Spanish colleague in the Poland game. Far less picky and annoying."

  47. 2102: 

    Russia pile forward again, but for once they fail to get a shot in on goal with the move breaks down as Aleksandr Kerzhakov's pass is intercepted. The move came from a familiar source, though: Andrey Arshavin, who looks so much freer and purposeful in his movement than he did when we last saw him at the Emirates.


    James Hallworth on text: "Euro 2012, the tournament of two halves?"


    Dhiraj Hirani on Twitter: "Czech Republic making a comeback!"

    Henry Whitfield on Twitter: "Czechs with a HUGE goal there. Can they salvage a point here?"

    Kevin tweets: "Why do teams just wrap up their tools and sit back when there's still a game to play? Could've been 4-0, instead it's 2-1."

  50. 2058: 

    Russia look to quickly restore their two-goal advantage but Roman Shirokov's shot from 25 yards+ is high and wide.

  51. 2056:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "That's what we neutrals needed if we wanted to see a game of football here. Russia tried to play offside for no real reason, and that was simply lazy defending. Russia switched off, nothing more than that. Let's see of the Czechs can build on this now."

  52. 2054: 
    GOAL- Russia 2-1 Czech Republic (Vaclav Pilar, 52 mins)

    Well, well, well, this makes things interesting. The Czechs looked to have little to offer but a superb forward pass, that splits the Russian defence, from Jaroslav Plasil and a neat rounding of the keeper and finish by Vaclav Pilar later means it is game on. Euro 2012 continues to come up with the goods.


    Kev Hegarty on Twitter: "The ever-dangerous 2-0 lead. Third goal ends this or begins it..."

    Oliver Lazzari on Twitter: "Really liking Pilar for the Czechs, looks like a real talent. Young Czech Ryan Giggs."

    Duncan Rowe on Twitter: "So far, ‪Euro 2012‬ has been awesome. And ‪England‬ don't play for a couple of days, so I can keep enjoying it until then."

  54. 2053: 

    Who is this Arshavin fella? One of the big clubs in England should snap him up. He drives forward again down the right and plays a lovely little pass forward but just too far ahead of the onrushing Aleksandr Kerzhakov. A minute later, Kerzhakov has space on the right but slices his shot well wide.

  55. 2050: 

    As you were folks. Russia on the front foot straight away and Andrey Arshavin is again central with a cross from the left, which is tempting for his team-mates but too just far ahead of any of them.

  56. 2048: 
    KICK-OFF- Russia 2-0 Czech Republic
  57. 2047: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Czech Republic - Tomas Hubschman on for Jan Rezek
  58. 2047: 

    The teams are back out on the pitch...

  59. 2046: 

    As Al points out, Alan Dzagoev has demonstrated in that half why he is so highly thought of. He was tipped to star in this tournament and in scoring his fifth international goal he has done nothing to alter that view. By all accounts, Real Madrid will have taken particular note of his display.


    BBC Sport football tactics blogger Alistair Magowan tweets: "Russia a real threat down the flanks. 26 of their 29 entries into the final third of the pitch have been down the left or right wings. Andrey Arshavin and Alan Dzagoev looking like the key men."

  61. 2042: 

    As for Czechs... Milan Baros has been a very isolated figure up front. There are members of the crowd who have touched the ball more than him in that first 45 minutes. They've looked to shift the ball out wide, but their delivery has been poor and beyond that they lack any creativity in and around the box. As it stands, you can only see a Russian win to send them top of Group A.

  62. 2039: 

    Andrey Arshavin has looked the part for Russia in the first 45 minutes. He has demonstrated how good he can be when properly motivated and utilised. Arsene Wenger must be sat at home wondering what he did wrong. Similarly, Yuri Zhirkov has been efficient down the Russian left.

  63. 2037:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Russia are entertaining. They have great players, particularly going forward. So far they have been a joy to watch, and the Czech Republic can do nothing about it."

  64. 2036: 

    That makes it 135 minutes of consistent Euro 2012 entertainment so far. I think we'd have all settled for that. To summarise this game in simple terms: the Czech Republic briefly flirted with superiority before being totally dominated by Russia, who appear to be in a similar mood to that of Euro 2008.


    Craig Jones on Twitter: "Remember when the Czechs were good?"

    Anthony Percival on Twitter: "Jiracek seems really energetic and industrial without any quality or final ball. Still easily the Czechs' best player."

  66. 2032: 
    HALF-TIME- Russia 2-0 Czech Republic
  67. 2032: 

    Petr Jiracek has looked as likely as any Czech player to produce something, but he gets his shot from distance wrong, blazing well over the goal from 25 yards. That is probably the final meaningful act of the first 45 minutes.

  68. 2030: 

    We're nearing half-time and the onus is very much on the Czechs. However, they lack the guile in attack to cause Russia too much of a problem. Maybe the direct, set-piece route will work? The answer to that is no, as a corner drifts harmlessly over all and out of danger on the left side of the pitch.

  69. 2027:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "We've had a good game with really attractive football, but now we have a Russian Mexican wave. What's that all about?"

  70. 2027: 

    It is usually a bad sign for the quality of a game when a Mexican wave begins, but I'm glad to report the one currently working around the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw is a testimony to an entertaining game.

  71. 2025: 

    The Czech Republic enjoy a brief period of possession of their own around the Russian box but, in contrast to their opponents, their is nothing precise about their passing and the moves break down quickly.


    Johnny Calopsita on Twitter: "Russia look scary. You have to consider them favourites for this group. Russia v Holland? Mouthwatering."

    Dias on Twitter: "Watching Arshavin playing now and I barely recognise him. The transformation he has had since going back to Russia is amazing."

    Andrew King on Twitter: "My only worry is that, like Poland earlier, Russia are not killing this game while they have the chance."

  73. 2022: 

    There is absolutely no pressure on Russia now and they are more than happy to maintain possession and probe for an opening. The Czech Republic are being forced to chase them round the field.

  74. 2019: 

    The Czech's main route to goal is initially from out wide, but so far their crosses have not been up to scratch. Russia are able to deal with them easily. At the other end, Russia look like scoring every time they go forward. Konstantin Zyryanov's cross from the left is deflected to Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who is 15 yards out but cannot get his shot on target. He is disgusted with himself as the ball hits the stands.


    Jim in Liverpool on the text: "Watching the power, pace, creativity and attacking intent of the first two games, I really fear for England..."

  76. 2016: 

    Here is a chance for the Czechs. Theodor Gebre Selassie is brought to ground by Andrey Arshavin for a free-kick near the right corner flag. However, Jaroslav Plasil's delivery is cleared away by a Russian head. Still the Czech's come forward and Petr Jiracek chips a cross from the left, but again Russia head away.

  77. 2014:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Russia are looking very special going forward. They're breaking at such pace, and they have serious quality in that final third. They're just slicing through the Czech Republic, whose defence haven't been great, we have to say. Tell you what: Russia look good."


    Mark James on Twitter: "Lovin' the Russians. Great goals."

    Akinpelu Kayode on Twitter: "How ordinary Cech is made to look. That's how you look without Terry and Cole. Lively Euros. This is what we want."

    Chin on Twitter: "What a start for Russia. I still think Czech Republic can come back..."

  79. 2014: 

    Penalty shout for Russia... but Howard Webb is having none of it. It is a big shove in the back on Andrey Arshavin by Jaroslav Plasil. I'm leaning towards that being a spot-kick. Moments later, Arshavin almost creates a third for his side with a low cross from the right, but none of his team-mates gamble for what would have been a simple tap-in. Russia totally dominant now.

  80. 2008: 
    GOAL- Russia 2 (Roman Shirokov, 24 mins) 0 Czech Republic

    Quick as a flash, Russia put daylight between themselves and the Czechs. Andrey Arshavin's angled pass is meant for Aleksandr Kerzhakov but is just ahead of him. However, it is perfect for Roman Shirokov deeper in the box. The midfielder still has a lot to do, but produces a superb chip to lift the ball over Petr Cech and in. Ruthless stuff from the Russians, who have control now.

  81. 2008: 

    The Czech Republic look to hit back as Vaclav Pilar's cross is aimed to the back post, where Jan Rezek is lurking, but Yuri Zhirkov gets ahead of him to nod out. From the resulting corner Rezek gets a glancing header on target but straight at Vyacheslav Malafeev.

  82. 2005:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Great movement from Russia, and a fantastic cross. Alan Dzagoev had to keep calm with the ball zipping of the surface, but he didn't panic did he? Half-volley, kept it low, and we've got a game on!"


    Tom Dobbyne on Twitter: "I would say that's against the run of play."

    Darren Weltman on Twitter: "The players expected to have shown up today. Dzagoev and Lewandowski."

    Jack Willows on Twitter: "I've said for ages that Dzagoev will be a revelation this tournament!"

  84. 2005: 

    Russia look so much more composed now after that goal. And they should make it 2-0 when Andrey Arshavin is given acres of space to pick out the marauding Alan Dzagoev on the right. He has the whole goal to aim at from the edge of the area but slices his shot wide of the target.

  85. 1959: 
    GOAL- Russia 1 (Alan Dzagoev, 15 mins) 0 Czech Republic

    They have been under the cosh for much of the opening 15 minutes but Russia make the most of of their brief period of possession to take the lead. Konstantin Zyryanov's cross is met by Aleksandr Kerzhakov in the box but his header hits the far post. However, Alan Dzagoev is on hand to fire in the rebound from 12 yards out. That is the 15 international goal for the young bright spark of Russian football.

  86. 1959: 

    First real sight of Russia coming forward sees Andrey Arshavin gain possession on the left side of the box. His cross/shot earns his side a corner off Theodor Gebre Selassie. The set-piece comes to nothing, though.

  87. 1957: 

    Not for the first time, Czech full-back Michal Kadlec comes forward and crosses deep to the right byline, where Jan Rezek is lurking and his shot briefly worries Vyacheslav Malafeev but ultimately flies across goal and wide.

  88. 1954:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "The Czechs are the dominant team. I'm impressed with their first few minutes. They're pressing and, when they have the ball, there's plenty of movement."

  89. 1954: 

    Ivan Drago is trending on Twitter. Russia could do with some of the Rocky IV villain's merciless brand of sporting steel tonight.

  90. 1952: 

    Russia yet to get a foothold in this game. The Czechs have started very well.


    Mayowa Olubowale on Twitter: "Really looking forward to seeing Dzagoev play. Very talented youngster."

    Stu Freestone on Twitter: "I predict an Arshavin first goal. Russia will boss this."

    Ross M Lucas on Twitter: "I hope Russia realise that dressing like Spain doesn't mean you will play like Spain. Not fooling anyone."

  92. 1950: 

    Again, the Czechs come forward and from a free-kick, Roman Hubnik steals in to connect with a header from deep in the box but it is directed wide of goal.

  93. 1949: 

    Jan Rezek is in the wars again, this time winning a free-kick for a foul on him. From the subsequent attack, the Czechs force a corner, which causes some indecision in the Russian box and appears to catch the left arm of Aleksandr Anyukov before going behind. It's decent penalty shout. From the subsequent corner, Vyacheslav Malafeev punches clear. Good start by the Czech Republic.


    Infostrada Sports tweets: "Dick Advocaat becomes second coach to lead two different countries to the Euros. He also led the Netherlands at Euro 2004. Gus Hiddink led same countries (1996 & 2008)."

  95. 1946:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Looking at the Russians, it's interesting to see how they've lined up. There are the four defenders and the rest are standing on the halfway line. If that's not a statement of attacking intent I don't know what is!"

  96. 1945: 

    One second in and straight away we have a foul, from Jan Rezek on Aleksandr Kerzhakov. Bit keen, the Czech striker.

  97. 1945: 
    KICK-OFF- Russia v Czech Republic (19:45 BST)
  98. 1942: 

    National anthems done. We are moments away from the second game of Euro 2012.

  99. 1941:  
    David Pleat, BBC Radio 5 live

    "This is a decent Russian team and a team that should win this group. They have strong forwards and that's indicative of the strength of the Russian squad."

  100. 1941: 

    Howard Webb leads the two teams out on to the field. Not quite the atmosphere of the first game but then that is completely understandable. Make no mistake, though, this game really matters to both these nations, both within the context of this tournament and beyond it. A winner will top Group A.


    Serg on text: "The Russian bear is coming for you! He's awake, and hungry for goals!"

  102. 1936: 

    The Czech Republic aren't quite as settled as Russia. They have undergone a long and often difficult overhaul in the four years since their last major tournament, Euro 2008. However, in defenders Michal Kadlec and Theo Gebre Selassie and midfielder Petr Jiracek they have unearthed three solid performers. They finished second in qualifying group I, which is forgivable considering that first place was occupied by the undefeated Spain. A play-off win over Montenegro sealed their spot at these championships.


    Tito NR on Twitter: "Eyes are on Dzagoev but reckon Shirokov will grab headlines."

    Steve Milne on Twitter: "Poland flattered to deceive, but expecting the Russians to show what they've got against the Czechs this evening."

    Chris Borham on Twitter: "Watch out for Shirokov- sits deeper but has a real knack for getting into goalscoring positions."

  104. 1933: 

    Central defenders Vasily Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich have 140 caps between them for Russia, and were the first-choice pair during a qualification run that saw them only concede four goals. Other Russian men to look out for are Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who scored 23 goals for champions Zenit last season and Alan Dzagoev, who was joint top-scorer in qualifying.

  105. 1927: 

    Russia are arguably favourites for Group A progression. Dick Advocaat's side are ranked 11th in the Fifa rankings and sailed through as winners of qualifying group B. You'll probably also remember that they were one of Euro 2008's best sides. However, there has been criticism that the squad is too old (average: 28), with little done to refresh the 2008 version.

  106. 1924: 

    We also have an English presence amongst the officials for this game as well. Good old Howard Webb is the man with the whistle tonight. For his sake I hope he has a better game than Carlos Velasco Carballo. For our sake, though, a few mad decisions could liven things up, as Senor Carballo demonstrated.


    Dominic Morley on Twitter: "My dog predicted two draws earlier on today with the aid of some treats, good start! hoping for another draw"

    Scott Simpson on Twitter: "Czech Republic side has 2 players from my Bournemouth one on Football Manager. I was (wrongly) sacked. ‪#badomens"

  108. 1917: 

    Russia have an English top-flight taint to their squad as well. Yuri Zhirkov. Remember him? Great at Euro 2008, pretty average at Chelsea, he remains a big player for Russia. And what about Andrey Arshavin, the enigmatic (or infuriating depending on who you ask) Arsenal man on-loan at Zenit? And then there is Fulham's Pavel Pogrebnyak who had a superb impact after joining the Cottagers midway through last seasonn and striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, formerly of Spurs.

  109. 1914: 

    Those are the names of the men involved in today's second fixture, being played in Wroclaw. You'll probably recognise more of them than from the first fixture. The Czech Republic have a healthy Premier League past and present presence in the shape of Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky and ex-Liverpool striker Milan Baros.

  110. 1911: 
    LINE-UPS- Russia v Czech Republic (19:45 BST)

    Czech Republic: Cech, Gebre Selassie, Kadlec, Hubnik, Sivok, Rezek, Rosicky, Plasil, Pilar, Jiracek, Baros. Subs: Lastuvka, Drobny, Suchy, Limbersky, Rajtoral, Petrzela, Hubschman, Kolar, Darida, Necid, Pekhart, Lafata.

    Russia: Malafeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Berezutski, Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov, Dzagoev, Arshavin, Kerzhakov. Subs: Akinfeev, Shunin, Sharonov, Granat, Nababkin, Izmailov, Kombarov, Kokorin, Glushakov, Semshov, Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak.

    Referee: Howard Webb (England)


    Jack Ashbee on Twitter: "Salpingidis was immense. Scored, won the penalty, and made a nuisance of himself. Surely starting Greece's next game."

    Dominic Onions on Twitter: "If all the games are like this we are in for a treat!"

  112. 1909: 

    Unfortunately, it now means the rest of the tournament has a pretty high standard to live up to. First up on the stage to try and top the opening act is Russia v Czech Republic. Good luck fellas.

  113. 1908: 

    Well, wasn't that a lovely opening game. I said to Tom before kick-off I thought it would be 1-1, but I was seeing a sterile, typically dour first match draw not the thoroughly entertaining incident-a-thon we were served up.

  114. 1858: 

    The full teams for Russia v Czech Republic will be with you in the next few minutes, but there's another change in the commentary box first. I'm heading to the bench with an eye strain after squinting at all those spellings, so reliable utility man Phil Dawkes is coming on for the second 90 minutes. Over to you...

  115. 1855: 
    Russia v Czech Republic (19:45 BST)

    Former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros has overcome a muscle strain and starts for the Czech Republic. Tomas Rosicky will captain the Czechs after a calf problem. Aleksandr Anyukov starts for Russia after receiving treatment for a knock but former Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, who has also been on the treatment table, is missing.

  116. 1854: 

    We'll start to turn our attention towards game two now, as Russia take on the Czech Republic.

  117. 1853:  
    Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Poland started fantastically, but Greece came back into it in the second half. This was a proper game of two halves."

  118. 1852: 

    That's that then. All-square in the opening game of Euro 2012, and incidents galore. Two goals, two red cards and a missed penalty. Greece were nowhere in the first half but after missing a penalty will probably feel they should have won it.

  119. 1852: 
    FULL-TIME- Poland 1-1 Greece

    BBC Sport football tactics blogger Alistair Magowan tweets: "Greece negative at first but have kept two in central midfield. Karagounis working very hard and Salpingidis has a 100% pass completion rate."

  121. 1850: 

    Jakub Blaszczykowski fizzes in a fine ball from that right-hand side, and Kostas Katsouranis thrashes it over his own goal. That would have been some own goal - he really caught that.


    Akinpelu Kayode on Twitter: "Re Sarah (1835): One bad game and Szczesny is a liability? Are you kidding? He was as important as Robin van Persie last season..."

    Scott Bamber on Twitter: "The best opening match ever has to be the World Cup one where unknown nine-man Cameroon beat champions Argentina."

    Anish Panchmatia on Twitter: "We've seen goals, red cards, penalty saved, and controversy ALL in the first game! Standards have been set high."

  123. 1846: 

    Into the last two minutes now, it looks like a draw in the opening game.

  124. 1843: 

    There's Robert Lewandowski - he's been anonymous in this half but cracks in a very decent effort on the volley from wide on the right. He's a definite threat if you give him the service.

  125. 1841: 

    Poland link up down the right for the first time this half, but captain Jakub Blaszczykowski overcooks his cross and it drifts out of play. Another attack from the hosts though ends with Eugen Polanski hitting a shot straight at Kostas Chalkias in the Greece goal. Better from Poland - but they need a winner in the remaining seven minutes.

    Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I've seen a lot of that on the training ground at Manchester City from Georgios Samaras. He's tall and gangly... and has no real control in his volleys."


    Ben on text: "Szczesny barely makes a mistake all season for Arsenal and two absolute howlers in his first hour at the Euros. Maybe now we know why Joe Hart didn't play in 2010 - it's not easy for young keepers to carry the hopes of nations on their shoulders."

    Steve in Hartlepool on text: "Perfect first game, just what the Euros needed. Hopefully this sets the tone."

    Ben in Somerset on text: "Szczesny just stopped a certain goal. If he didn't bring the player down, it was 2-1."

  128. 1839: 

    Georgios Samaras has another sight of goal here - and it's the same result. A wild slash into the stands. No composure whatsoever.

  129. 1837: 

    We've seen nothing of Robert Lewandowski in the last 20 minutes for Poland. He's drifted out of the game - his nation need him now.

  130. 1837:  
    Mark Bright on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "Probably the injustice of the red card has spurred Greece on. But they couldn't have played any worse than they did in the first half. Yet they look the most positive side now with 15 minutes remaining."

  131. 1836: 

    Just to clarify, Wojciech Szczesny will miss Poland's game against Russia now through suspension, so you'd imagine that replacement Przemyslaw Tyton will get the nod to start.


    Simon G on Twitter: "Wow! Who said this would be a boring match...?"

    Sarah Morgan on Twitter: "Even as Arsenal fan I admit Szczesny gave the ref no alternative. Too much of liability for club and country."

    Allan Xu on Twitter: "Best. Opening. Match. Ever."

  133. 1835: 

    It's safe to say this has been a much better game than most of us imagined...


    Nick Brand on Twitter: "It's all about taking your chances... and Poland haven't so far."

    Alex Whitenstall on Twitter: "I have Greece in the sweepstake at work. Everyone knows only champions get results with 10 men!"

  135. 1833: 

    Why didn't this man start? Dimitris Salpingidis has been everywhere, and he stabs in a cross from Kostas Fortounis - but he's offside. Suddenly the hosts are looking nervous.

  136. 1832: 

    So Greece have hardly been in this game but have scored, missed a penalty and missed a clear chance. It's anyone's now.

  137. 1832:  
    Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Wojciech Szczesny has had an absolute nightmare. He's had nothing to do, but his concentration has deserted him. What was he trying to achieve with that? He should have gone with his hands. The referee had no option but to give a penalty and send the goalkeeper off. Szczesny has had two things to do and he's done both badly.

    "But what a moment that is for the young goalkeeper. He has become an instant hero."

  138. 1831: 

    So then, we've got 10 men each for the last 20 minutes. Game very much on.

  139. 1829: 
    MISSED PENALTY FOR GREECE- Giorgos Karagounis

    Przemyslaw Tyton makes himself an instant hero, diving to his left to keep out Karagounis's tame penalty. Remarkable scenes.

    RED CARD FOR POLAND- Wojciech Szczesny (69 mins)

    Szczesny is sent off, with substitute Przemyslaw Tyton coming on

  141. 1827: 

    Drama! That man Dimitris Salpingidis is involved again, he latches on to a long ball, brings the ball down and skips around Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny - who trips him. A clear red card and a penalty.

  142. 1825: 

    Decent from Poland, and it's down the left now as Sebastian Boenisch crosses in for Rafal Murawski to head over from a narrow angle. Just over 20 minutes for either side to find a winner.

  143. 1824: 

    Georgios Samaras was the most expensive Greek footballer ever by the way when he joined Manchester City. It never happened for him in England though and that finish showed us why he was moved on.

  144. 1823: 

    Oh what a chance! Greece should be ahead. A lofted ball from midfield plays Georgios Samaras clean in on goal, but he never gets control of the ball and slices his shot horribly wide with his left foot. Wretched finishing. I doubt they'll get a better chance than that.

  145. 1821:  
    Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Greece will be quite happy. Considering where they were - a goal down - they will be pleased to take away a draw. The Poles have gone a bit flat since the Greece goal."


    BBC Sport football tactics blogger Alistair Magowan tweets: "That goal was Greece's first shot on target. They have had only four in the game compared to Poland's 11."

  147. 1818: 

    As you'd expect, it's very much nine outfield players behind the ball for Greece now - but half an hour is a long time to hang on. Wonder if Poland will think about throwing on another forward?


    Opta Sports on Twitter: "Only one team has ever come from behind to avoid defeat after having a man sent off at Euros: Yugoslavia v Slovenia in 2000."

    BBC Sport Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty in Krakow:

    "Plenty of cheers for the Greece equaliser in Krakow too."

  150. 1816: 

    Ludovic Obraniak cracks a free-kick wide from range as Poland look for a way back in front.


    Capital R on Twitter: "Not so Premier League by Szczesny there..."

    Toby on Twitter: "Did not see that one coming! Fair play to Greece, they haven't given up."

    Joe Bray on Twitter: "Greece have got nothing to lose. This forces Poland not to relax now."

  152. 1814: 

    The fans in Warsaw are finding their voice now after that shock goal. Safe to say nobody saw that coming at all, but if Poland can find that rhythm they had in the first period a second goal isn't out of the question.

    Mark Bright on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "I'm looking at Szczesny there [for the equaliser]. He's nowhere near the ball. There's no point him pointing at his defenders, he doesn't even extend himself."

  154. 1812: 

    You fancy Greece will set their stall out to defend now. Captain Giorgos Karagounis is shown yellow for a very cynical handball. Over to you Poland, what's in the locker?

    Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I said they would need some sort of miracle from the Greek gods to get back into this. Well they have it. It was something from nothing. There was no reason for Wojciech Szczesny to come for that cross, and he was at full stretch. The substitute, with his first or second touch, scores the goal."

  156. 1809: 
    GOAL- Poland 1-1 Greece (Dimitris Salpingidis, 51 mins)

    Talk about a super-sub - Dimitris Salpingidis has only been on the pitch a few minutes and he's hauled Greece level against the run of play. It's a similar goal to Poland's as well, Vassilis Torossidis swinging in a cross from the right, Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny doesn't get there, and it falls at the feet of Salpingidis to poke in. Game on.


    Dale from Derby on text: "Re William (1733): Tournaments ruined by soft refereeing? Eat your words sir... gravy with that?"

  158. 1807: 

    Poland start on the front foot and it's those two Dortmund men linking again - Lukasz Piszczek playing it through for Robert Lewandowski but this time the striker fires over from wide on the right.

  159. 1806:  
    David Pleat on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Poland have showed more speed from midfield, but the Greeks have been sluggish. Even with 11 men I couldn't see them piercing the Polish defence. I'm disappointed with the way Greece have played, and unless they're more direct and bypass the midfield a little bit then Wojciech Szczesny will have an easy second half."

  160. 1805:  
    Alan Shearer on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "I would be absolutely devastated if I was the Polish coach - the game should be over. I don't know if Poland have been that impressive or Greece that poor. Greece have got to get more up front to support their main striker. They have got to get men forward. But it's going to be difficult because they can't afford to fall further behind."

  161. 1804: 

    Greece have made a change at the break, with striker Dimitris Salpingidis on for the disappointing Sotiris Ninis.

  162. 1803: 
    KICK-OFF- Poland 1-0 Greece

    The second half is under way...


    Ethan Davies on Twitter: "Football is a cruel game. Poles should be further ahead, and Greece should have had a penalty and still have 11 men!"

  164. 1800: 

    They've gone very early with 'We Will Rock You' by Queen in Warsaw. Not sure you can fire that out at half-time - save that track for full-time boys...


    BBC Sport football tactics blogger Alistair Magowan tweets: "HT Poland 1-0 Greece; Shots 10-3; Shots on target 2-0; Pass completion and number of passes very similar. Greece have had 56% possession."

  166. 1757: 

    How can Greece come back in the second half then? A big team-talk needed from coach Fernando Santos.


    BBC Radio 5 live presenter Mark Pougatch on Twitter: "Sorry but that is pathetic refereeing from the Spaniard. Neither were a yellow, let alone both."

  168. 1755:  
    Alan Hansen on BBC Match Of The Day:

    "Everything good about the game has come from Poland. I don't think it would be harsh to call the [Greece] back four useless. The only surprise is that Poland are only 1-0 up. As for the sending off, the second [yellow card] is a bad decision but the first one is crazy."


    Tom Bushell on Twitter: "Ref is having a Western-Super at the moment..."

    Thomas Mills on Twitter: "Terrible from the ref. If the whole tournament is like this it'll be a nightmare!"

    James Barker on Twitter: "Harsh on Greece, yes. But still Poland have outplayed them completely."

  170. 1752: 

    I have to say, Sokratis Papastathopoulos would have been applauded for good defending for both of those challenges in League Two. A crazy red card. The ref was doing well up to that point as well.

  171. 1750: 

    For those of you just getting in from work, you can see the goal from Robert Lewandowski on the BBC Sport website right now, with extensive highlights on there later.


    Craig Jones on Twitter: "Zero creativity in this Greece side. Set pieces are their only hope."

    Trevor Durham on Twitter: "Are ‪Greece‬ really the 15th best team in the world right now? Really? Not looking like it."

    Alex Riehl on Twitter: "This Greek team are like the team who won Euro 2004... except without the hunger, and intensity, and defensive discipline..."

  173. 1749: 

    So it's all set for Poland now - 1-0 up at the break against 10 men. Can they hang on for three points?

  174. 1748: 
    HALF-TIME- Poland 1-0 Greece
    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "That is a very, very harsh second booking. It was the smallest of touches, and the first booking was incredibly harsh. The Greek manager has just shrunk in his chair, shaking his head. He looks like the most miserable man in the world. For me, that's poor refereeing. I really can't tell you how poor those decisions were."

  176. 1747: 

    Greece are furious here. Moments after that harsh red card, they have a decent penalty shout waved away as Damien Perquis handles the ball in the area. Jose Holebas of Greece was shown the yellow card for his protests. They need half-time here.

  177. 1744: 
    RED CARD FOR GREECE- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (45 mins)

    Oh dear, oh dear referee. At least it saves me typing out Sokratis Papastathopoulos's name again to be honest, but he's really unlucky. I said his first booking a few minutes ago was harsh, and this was even worse. Poland forward Rafal Murawski tried to roll him but he was already slipping before he ran into the defender, who was shown a second yellow card.

  178. 1742: 

    Greece win a corner but twice Sotiris Ninis hits the first man with a cross. Not good enough that at this level.

  179. 1741:  
    Mark Bright on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "Greece topped their [qualifying] group ahead of Croatia, but they've been really poor. They're no threat at all. Poland have moved the ball about and the goal has given them a bit more confidence. The nerves have gone and it's all going to plan as far as they're concerned."

  180. 1740: 

    Another strong break down the right from Poland skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski wins a corner. Greece can't seem to cope with him at the moment - but they do get the corner away.

    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "The Greeks have been unimaginative when they pass the ball around. And their so-called strong defence? We haven't seen a lot of it."

  182. 1737: 

    Chance for Poland! They should be 2-0 up, as Greece don't deal with a set-piece and it falls to Damien Perquis, but he screws his shot wide under pressure. Bad miss from the defender.

  183. 1736: 

    And here's a change for Greece as well. Defender Avraam Papadopoulos is off after an earlier challenge to be replaced by Kyriakos Papadopoulos. No relation.

  184. 1735: 

    First booking of the tournament - and it's a harsh one. Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Greece is cautioned for a challenge on the goalscorer Robert Lewandowski.


    Will Taylor on Twitter: "Poland very reminiscent of South Africa in 2010, buoyed on by the crowd allowing them to play with so much freedom."

    William Tomaney on Twitter: "Good reffing, keeping the game flowing. Hope it carries on throughout the tournament. Recent tournaments have been ruined by too many soft decisions."

  186. 1733: 

    Well, half an hour in and I have to say this Poland side have been very pleasant to watch. They will certainly be a threat in this group. Greece - well, they've not been good. Plenty of time to change all that though.

  187. 1732: 

    The game has gone a bit scrappy after that strong spell from Poland which brought them the goal. They haven't got it out wide on the right since - that's where the threat is.


    Freddie in Cambridge on text: "Of course, this morning I put Lewandowski IN my fantasy football! Classic."

  189. 1730:  
    Mark Bright on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "Greece have not really put Poland under any pressure. They're very loose [at the back] and can't keep the ball - they're giving it away. They haven't done anything with the ball in the Polish half."

    BBC Sport Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty in Krakow:

    "Otto Rehhagel's Greek Euro 2004 champions wouldn't give you the time of day. This is very different so far."

  191. 1729: 

    It comes to nothing though.

  192. 1728: 

    A rare spell of possession for Greece - and they are trying to get dangerman Sotiris Ninis on the ball as much as possible. A jinking run from the winger wins a free-kick in a dangerous position...

  193. 1727: 

    Greece goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias comes out for another cross, but he gets a strong punch on this one to get it away. I fancy Poland will test him though after he flapped at the goal.


    BBC Sport football reporter and tactics blogger Alistair Magowan tweets: "Poland pummelling Greece down the right side. Six out of seven crosses have come from that side, with one leading to the goal."

  195. 1724: 

    Greece are looking to regroup after that setback, but captain Giorgos Karagounis does chance his arm from range but the shot is way wide.

    BBC Sport Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty in Krakow:

    "Bit of a delay on the screens in Krakow. Lewandowski scores - then a couple of seconds later varying degrees of mayhem."


    Jon Preston on Twitter: "Its been coming, and when it did the defending was awful. Where was the keeper wandering to?"

    Mike Jackson on Twitter: "Great start for Poland but Greece are shocking and making it hard for themselves giving the ball away all the time..."

    Theo Kabala on Twitter: "Lewandowski might be on his way to Man United according to the Poland coach. Well from what I've seen so far I'd have him at Old Trafford!"

  198. 1721: 

    A few of you were Tweeting me earlier to say you'd had a sneaky bet on Robert Lewandowski for the golden boot. He's been very impressive so far. Greece have to do something to stop that flow of attacks down their left.

  199. 1720: 

    Of course, last night I took Robert Lewandowski out of my fantasy football team. Classic.

  200. 1720:  
    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "That's been on the cards. It was a fantastic cross in from the right, floated in, and Robert Lewandowski just had to nod it in. The Greek defence, who have been solid so far, were all over the place. When it went in, as expected, the roof almost came off."

  201. 1717: 
    GOAL- Poland 1 (Robert Lewandowski, 17 mins) 0 Greece

    It's been coming down that right-hand side, and Poland lead through their main man Robert Lewandowski. Captain Jakub Blaszczykowski delivers a peach of a cross which Greece keeper Kostas Chalkias gets nowhere near, and Lewandowski plants a header down into the turf and watches it bounce into the top corner. A great header.

  202. 1716: 

    A howler at the back from Avraam Papadopoulos as he air-kicks, but Robert Lewandowski can't take advantage. Poland well on top now though.

  203. 1716:  
    Mark Bright, on BBC Match of the Day at the National Stadium, Warsaw:

    "Playing tournament football, most players will tell you they don't want to lose the opening game. But Poland have started brightly and created a couple of decent opportunities. They're knocking on the door."

  204. 1714: 

    So close! It's the Borussia Dortmund connection causing havoc for Poland. Lukasz Piszczek again bursts clear, but his cross is inches away from Robert Lewandowski's forehead at the near post. All the pre-match chat was about the Dortmund trio - and they've already shown why.


    Jay Tomlinson on Twitter: "Vibrant start from Poland. Lewandowski looks a real threat in attack."

    Sam Burleton on Twitter: "After just five minutes I can see why Lewandowski tore up the Bundesliga for Dortmund. Great movement and hold-up play."

    Evan Jones on Twitter: "This game has already been more exciting than England's last two friendlies combined!"

  206. 1713: 

    Another chance for the hosts, and this a good move. Again it comes down the right-hand side as Ludovic Obraniak cuts a dangerous cross into the area but skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski fires over from a tight angle. He should have done better.

  207. 1712: 

    First sight of goal for Greece, as striker Fanis Gekas flicks a header toward goal but it's always going wide.

  208. 1708: 

    Some more good hold-up play from Robert Lewandowski. A lot today may depend on how quickly Poland can get men up to support him in attack. They can't on this occasion and Greece have the ball. It's a much more patient build-up from Greece so far.


    BBC Sport journalist Richard Conway on Twitter: "Spotted: Mario Balotelli at a Krakow cafe. Settling in for Poland v Greece. To confirm, he wasn't dressed as Santa or handing out 200 zloty notes..."

    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "The opening game is absolutely vital. Lose it and you're really up against it, and it makes it really tough to qualify from your group.

    "Already the Poles have shown signs that they are going to be a bit more attacking than we're used to."

  211. 1706: 

    Chance for Poland! First a surge from right-back Lukasz Piszczek picks out Robert Lewandowski, he can't tee up the man on the edge of the area but it runs on to Rafal Murawski and his 20-yard shot is turned over by Greek keeper Kostas Chalkias. Poland surging forward.


    BBC Sport football commentator Conor McNamara on Twitter: "Only once ever has the opening game of a European Championship finished 0-0. There, I've gone and cursed it."

  213. 1703: 

    Maciej Rybus breaks clear down the left for Poland but his cross is well cut out by the Greek defence. A cagey start so far.

  214. 1701: 

    There's our first sight of Poland striker Robert Lewandowski - he gives Sokratis Papastathopoulos a tussle on the edge of the area but the referee gives a soft free-kick.


    Mike Green on Twitter: "In 2004 Greece beat the hosts 2-1 in the opening game and went on to win the tournament."

    Wayne Charlton on Twitter: "At work in Manhattan. A fellow Brit is the IT guy who has the keys to the cable box, so the tournament is on in the canteen! Very happy!"

    Matthew Stokes on Twitter: "Loudest national anthems I can remember! Huge home advantage."

  216. 1700: 
    KICK-OFF- Poland v Greece

    Euro 2012 is go!

  217. 1657: 

    Now we are talking. 'Poland is not lost' is booming out in Warsaw, with thousands of fans waving their Polish scarves. Stirring stuff. It's game time.

  218. 1656:  
    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "This will be a tense game, or at least a tense opening. But hopefully it will be enjoyable and almost everyone here is hoping for a good Polish start."

  219. 1655: 

    National anthem time. Greece are first up with their anthem 'The Hymn to Liberty.' Nice.

  220. 1654: 

    Poland are led out by skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski, while Giorgos Karagounis is the captain of Greece. The stadium sounds in full voice.


    Dave on Twitter: "The shift from pure classical Chopin to hardcore Euro dance was seamless. Truly a magical opening ceremony."

  222. 1650:  
    Former England defender Lee Dixon on BBC Match of the Day:

    "I think Germany will win it. They have got the perfect mix of experience and youth.

    "They have experience in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski. Everyone is talking about the fact that they'll be down after [Bayern Munich's] Champions League defeat, but this is Germany we're talking about and they will be very focused."

  223. 1650: 

    And there it is - the ceremony is over. The real action is now minutes away...

  224. 1648: 

    Now we have a cracking mural in the stadium with all 16 flags of the competing nations. It's been pretty textbook so far.


    Bifurcated on Twitter: "Pah to all you naysayers! I'm going for goals galore for the opening match: Goaland 3 - 3 Greece Lightning!"

    Sam Carruthers on Twitter: "Can Poland contain the goal machine that is Georgios Samaras? Only time will tell..."

  226. 1646: 

    From Chopin to - well a DJ in a gold shirt. Words fail me.

  227. 1645: 

    We've now got a pianist playing some Chopin - it's no Diana Ross though is it?


    Mike in Gloucestershire on text: "My girlfriend has been saying for ages that Alan Shearer needed to shave that last bit off. We started calling it Alan Shearer island..I wonder what it'd be like to live there?"

    All the fences would be creosoted, and the main meal each night would be chicken and beans.

  229. 1643: 

    Obligatory dancers with ribbons making a pattern? Check. So far, so nailed.

  230. 1642: 

    Kids with face paint - check.

  231. 1641: 

    Here we go then - it's opening ceremony time. Get those bingo cards at the ready...

  232. 1641:  
    David Pleat on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I think everyone will be interested in Robert Lewandowski, having played well for Dortmund this season.

    "I think Poland are the more experienced today, and they have home advantage. What tactics will the two teams adopt? Sides lacking in confidence will be fearful of losing, but if you don't press forward and create enough chances you simply won't score goals."


    Andos in Edinburgh on text: "The Poles seem to be most people's choice for this match, but don't write us Greeks off. Unbeaten in the qualifiers and I expect it to remain that way. 1-1 is my prediction."

    Matt in Macclesfield on text: "With the impressive Dortmund pair of Piszczek and Blaszczykowski operating on that right side Samaras is going to have to do some tracking back. I don't remember him relishing that part of the game in his Man City days! Makes 16/1 on Holebas first booking pretty tempting..."

  234. 1636:  
    Alan Hansen on BBC Match Of The Day on Rio Ferdinand's omission from the England squad:

    "Put it this way, if I was English and 30 years younger, I would want to play with Rio Ferdinand. The fact is he played a lot of games for Manchester United last season. If he's not in the [England] team then he should definitely be in the squad."

  235. 1634: 

    It's a sea of red and white in Warsaw, as you'd expect. Not too many Greece fans have made the trip by the looks of it. It will be a fine atmosphere in the capital if Franciszek Smuda can mastermind a win this afternoon.


    Graham Halliday on Twitter: "A solid Poland win followed by a scrappy Russia draw is my prediction for today. France is my tip for a final appearance though."

    Curt Bean on Twitter: "Stadium looks amazing. Looks like a great atmosphere."

    Tom Wallin on Twitter: "Buzzing for the Euros now. Love an international competition!"

  237. 1629: 

    It looks seriously warm in Warsaw, where the humidity under that stadium roof could be an issue for the players. No such issues for us in Salford I'm glad to report...

  238. 1628: 

    Former Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf on BBC Match Of The Day: "It's never a good moment when we have these type of issues [racism]. What should the players do? Ignore it. We should just tell them 'you are not affecting me' otherwise they will do it more. It's a minority."

  239. 1625:  
    Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "You're going to win this competition by having a go, not by sitting back and waiting to get beat. Why opt to go the defensive route?"

  240. 1625: 

    A serious haircut for Alan Shearer here. The former England skipper is pitchside with Jake Humphrey for the opening match.

  241. 1622: 

    Have some faith there Adam. This is going to be the opening ceremony of all ceremonies. You just wait...


    Adam on text: "The opening ceremonies are always terrible, thank goodness it only lasts 12 minutes!"

  243. 1619: 

    So who are we making favourites for this one then? I'm going with home backing to see Poland through. Kick off is 40 minutes away.


    Richard Judd on Twitter: "Poland to beat Greece 2-0, especially with the Dortmund players looking sharp. Poland are definitely the dark horses of the Euros."

    Luke Jones on Twitter: "Poland and Russia to win today. Hope the tournament starts with two good games."

    Charlie Enser on Twitter: "Time for three weeks of football. It's like Christmas came early."

  245. 1617: 

    Right, Gary Lineker and co are on the screen - the tournament is officially under way.

  246. 1614: 

    While you're doing the sweepstake, maybe we could have a spot of 'opening ceremony bingo.'

    Nailed on for a bright yellow, inflatable animal of some kind, a load of kids with flags and some baffling singing.

  247. 1614:  
    Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "We've been here a couple of days. It's been a bit quiet about town, but this morning the fans were really starting to ramp up the atmosphere. The Poles really need to get off to a good start."

  248. 1613: 

    Have you done an office sweepstake yet? If not, there is just enough time - just print out the file in this link and corral your colleagues into parting with their hard-earned cash. Just make sure Colin from accounts gets Poland...

  249. 1612:  
    Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "There will be no surprises. I expect Holland, Germany, France and Spain do well, and I'm picking the Dutch. But today I'm looking forward to watching Robert Lewandowski. What an exciting player."

  250. 1610: 

    The players are out on the Warsaw pitch going through their paces. After they have completed their warm-ups, it's time for the opening ceremony.

    The good news is that is only scheduled to last for 12 minutes.


    Ben in Coventry on text: "I think people are underestimating the quality of players on the pitch in this game. The Polish trio have proved themselves worthy by lifting the Bundesliga title this season, as well as reaching the final in the German cup. I'm also looking forward to seeing a performance from the recently-improved Wojciech Szczesny."

    Oval Yellow on text: "Two absolute bankers today in form of Poland and Russia. £400 double on them and that's the summer holidays sorted. Calmness personified. Until 5pm..."

  252. 1607: 
    LINE-UPS- Poland v Greece (17:00 BST)

    Poland: Szczesny, Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch, Murawski, Polanski, Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus, Lewandowski. Subs: Sandomierski, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Dudka, Matuszczyk, Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek, Tyton.

    Greece: Chalkias, Torosidis, Papastathopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Holebas, Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Ninis, Gekas, Samaras. Subs: Tzorvas, Tzavelas, Malezas, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Salpingidis, Fotakis, Fortounis, Fetfatzidis, Sifakis.

    Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)


    Elliot Taylor on Twitter: "Poland to be the dark horses of the tournament - Dortmund trio will shine."

    Tim G on Twitter: "Sokratis Papastathopoulos to be the new Siphiwe Tshabalala and score the opening goal of the tournament?"

    Sandy on Twitter: "First game of the Euros about to start. I'm sitting waiting in Kwik Fit for my car. Not what I had planned!"

  254. 1602: 
    Poland v Greece (17:00 BST)

    Poland's Damien Perquis recovers from a fractured elbow to take his place in the starting XI. Borussia Dortmund's star striker Robert Lewandowski is their lone striker. Greece full-back Vassilis Torossidis starts for his side having overcome the knee injury he sustained in the friendly against Slovenia. Influential midfielder Sotiris Ninis is also fit after shrugging off a shoulder injury.

  255. 1602: 

    Then again, those same Fifa rankings put England in sixth spot - ahead of Argentina. Madness.

  256. 1559: 

    Mike makes a valid point there about the opening match of Euro 2004, when Greece stunned hosts Portugal to win 2-1. Midfielder Giorgos Karagounis opened the scoring that day and he captains the side today. Full teams to follow shortly...


    Mike on text: "Nobody fancied Greece last time they played in an opening match against the host nation and look what happened... that's the great thing about football."

  258. 1558: 

    We've heard plenty about expectations for England being unusually low (or realistic) ahead of this tournament, but we're practically cock-a-hoop compared to the Poles. A recent survey found that just 3% of Polish fans are backing their boys to win the tournament, while the latest Fifa rankings put Poland in 62nd spot - the lowest in the tournament and below such footballing luminaries as Armenia, Gabon and Panama.

    BBC Sport Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty in Krakow

    "Former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek doing Euro 2012 analysis for Polish TV. Atmosphere building here in Krakow."

  260. 1556: 

    Tim G on Twitter: "Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a great young player. Great season with Schalke, has got good strength and versatile. Watch out for him."

    Malone on Twitter: "Going to be a tight opening game. Keep an eye out for 'Greek Messi' Giannis Fetfatzidis to come on and win this for us Greeks!"

    Sam Fry on Twitter: "Riding five clean sheets coming into the tournament, Poland look like they could be one of the surprises of the championships..."

  261. 1554: 

    We've seen our first shots of the national stadium in Warsaw, where it looks to be a cracker of an afternoon. The stadium is not quite under a roof - it's more of a fabric canopy. Like a smaller Millennium Dome...

  262. 1550: 

    And in defence, Greece could field a line-up that will give me and other commentators nightmares. Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos and the afore-mentioned Sokratis Papastathopoulos could all start. It's like an epsiode of Birds of a Feather.

  263. 1547: 

    Greece meanwhile are hoping that Sotiris Ninis blossoms. The winger has recently penned a deal to join Parma after the tournament but is on his way back from a cruciate ligament injury so may not be at his best. Up front, Celtic man and former Manchester City striker Georgios Samaras could start. You can smell the goals can't you?

  264. 1545: 

    Poland are pinning their hopes on Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Borussia Dortmund trio Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski and the frankly far too easy to spell in comparison Robert Lewandowski.

    Lewandowski has been heavily tipped with a move to England this summer and it's easy to see why. The big man bagged 30 goals for Bundesliga champions Dortmund this season, and smashed in a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in the cup final. This is very much his time to shine.

    MOTD's Gary Lineker

    on Twitter: "Poland v Greece and Robert Lewandowski trending. Just need Sokratis Papastathopoulos to trend and we'll know it's started. Euro 2012"


    Alex on text via 81111: "Lewandowski must be the only decent player on either side in the Poland-Greece game so 1-0 Poland."

  267. 1541: 

    So now the tournament is finally here, and it's time for you to voice your opinions. Who's going to win this thing then? Can England get out of the group? And if so, how far can they go? Who will bag the golden boot? And finally, I want to hear from any fans of Poland and Greece - tell me your predictions. You can Tweet us at #BBCFootball, and text in on 81111 (UK Only). Please put your names on those texts though, and your location if you're tuning in from afar. Dziekuje.

  268. 1538: 

    Later on this evening, Russia take on Petr Cech's Czech Republic, but for now they don't come much more mouth-watering than this for an opener:

    Poland v Greece.

    Stay with me now. There may not be too many household names out there this afternoon - unless you live in the Papadopoulos residence - but there's some quality to be found.

  269. 1530: 

    Good afternoon. 1440 days after Fernando Torres stroked in the goal which secured Euro 2008 for Spain, the European Championship finals are back. It's been a long wait, there have been plenty of changes across the continent, but now the festival of football is good to go.

    Yep, for the next three-and-a-bit weeks it's time to duck out of the office an hour early, sneak off for a post-match pint or just bat away a wave of domestic disagreements in order to watch all 31 games.

    England and Republic of Ireland fans will have to wait a few more days for their first taste of action, but for now it's over to co-hosts Poland to get this party started....

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