Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Euro 2012 - the worst is behind us*

The atmosphere in town around lunchtime ahead of the Poland-Russia game was good-natured though tense; the number of Russian fans on Al. Jerozolimskie was greater than I had expected to see (right). Word on the street was that things could turn nasty. A Russian victory on the pitch could spark off some particularly brutal scenes played out in front of the world's media.

Violent scuffles did break out ahead of the game; the police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon. 140 people were arrested; there were 11 injuries. Poland was soon one-nil down; a Poland defeat would surely trigger mass outbreaks of violence. At ten, I received an SMS that Poland had managed to equalise. Time, then to go to sleep hoping that a 1:1 draw would be the final outcome - which thankfully, it was; the ideal score from the point of view of stemming trouble between fans. And then, God-given came the rain to dampen the aggression.

I hope that's it - the worst is over. To escape elimination from the championships, Poland needs to beat the Czech Republic on Saturday in Wrocław. A draw will not suffice. There will no doubt be strong Czech support (Wrocław's nearer to Prague than to Warsaw). Russia has already got through to the quarter finals whatever the outcome of its final group match (with Greece in Warsaw on Saturday). There may be some trouble but certainly not on the scale seen last night. In the meanwhile, five-star hotel rooms are going for 5,000 złotys a night.

*If Poland gets through to face Germany in Gdańsk on Friday 22 June, I may have to eat my words...

This time last year:
Thirty-one and sixty-three - a short story

This time three years ago:
Warsaw rail circumnavigation

This time four years ago:
Classic Polish vehicles

This time five years ago:
South Warsaw sunsets


Anonymous said...

Russia need a draw against Greece to be sure of going through. If they lose then they would need a draw in the other game.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Anonymous:

If Greece beats Russia, then Russia still has 4pts. Greece,3pts. If the Czechs beat Poland, then they rule Group A with 5pts. If the Czechs draw, they have 4pts, Poland 3pts - and Russia still goes through (even if it loses to Greece). If the Czechs lose - Poland's on 4pts... No, I can't see any chance of Russia not going through... Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

If Greece beats Russia they'll both have 4pts. If there is a winner in the Poland game the Russians would be out, because the winner of that match would win the group, Russia and Greece would be tied for second and the first tie-breaker is the match between the teams. If Poland draw then the other three teams would be tied on 4 points and the Russians would be OK unless they lost heavily.

Michael Dembinski said...

Anon - of course, you're right - it's 3pts for a win. Even so - the Russians would have to lose by three goals... most unlikely.