Euro 2012: Poland hero Jakub Blaszczykowski targets last eight
Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski is confident the co-hosts can make history by reaching the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after the 1-1 draw with Russia.
The 26-year-old equalised with a thunderous shot, and a win over Czech Republic on Saturday would see Poland in the last eight for the first time.
"We'll do everything we can. We're tired but happy," Blaszczykowski said.
"With the sort of support we had here from the fans, we are capable of achieving a lot."
Analysis - Blaszczykowski goal
"It's just such a great goal. He cuts in on his left foot and absolutely nailed it. That's a thing of beauty, fabulous and a deserved equaliser for the way they've started the second half. And Arshavin could have killed the game at the other end and they broke and scored. Everything about it is top class and no-one is stopping that, Russia or whoever you are. There was just quality written all over that goal."
He added: "I believe that we can secure a historic advance to the quarter-finals."
Blaszczykowski, who saw his father stab his mother to death when he was 11, is already a household name in his homeland, fronting countless advertising campaigns and attracting widespread admiration.
And the worldwide profile of the Borussia Dortmund winger, known as Kuba, has increased following his stunning left-foot shot after collecting Lukasz Piszczek's pass.
"We have made a lot of effort for this game. All the tactics, all the plans came together - we only missed the positive result, the winning result," Blaszczykowski added.
"So now I'm waiting with a lot of positive attitude for the next game. We have three days left and I think we'll show what we can do in Wroclaw.
"We have this character and charisma. We're still in the game, we have two points. We're still in the tournament, so with this point, a win in our final match puts us into the knockout stage."
Blaszczykowski admitted the goal, which he scored with his supposedly weaker left foot, had been something of a "risk".
Group A permutations
- Russia need at least a point from their final game against Greece to qualify as of right
- Russia will still qualify if they lose if the Czech Republic draw with Poland
- If Russia lose and either Poland or Czech Republic win then Russia are out
- Czech Rep need to defeat Poland to qualify by right
- Czechs can also qualify if they draw against Poland and Russia win or draw
- Poland need to defeat Czech Rep to qualify
- Greece will qualify if they defeat Russia
"People thought it was weaker but I didn't take as many risks in the past," he admitted.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda expressed his delight and said his team were gradually coming into form in front of their own fans.
"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.
"Today's match proved that we are good enough to win against the Czech Republic.
"Our team can see that we have a chance of reaching the knockout stage and we will do everything we can to use that chance."
Russia manager Dick Advocaat admitted he was frustrated with the result.
"I thought Russia were a better team than Poland, but it was a very good game and we played really well," he said.
"It was a pretty good result because they had 40,000 people behind them, and that is a big advantage.
"The first win was nice and I really thought this one was going to end 1-0 because we controlled the game. We won that first game 4-1, but this one was like an away game, and you just have to accept that their equaliser was a beautiful goal.
"When you score a goal like he (Blaszczykowski) did, you must be a good player. It was a nice goal. But if you are objective you would say that both teams worked hard, but Russia had more possession and created more."