Welcome to Euro 2012’s Unspellable Names Group, and the battle between Poland and Russia. Perhaps we shouldn’t say battle. Fox News breaks down the history between the two nations. Good work there, Team Romney.
Lineups and such after the jump.
Here are the lineups. These names. Kill me now:
Poland (in a 4-2-3-1): Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Dudka, Polanski; Blaszczykowski, Murawski, Obraniak; Lewandowski. Subs: Sandomierski, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Matuszczyk, Rybus, Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek.
Russia (in a 4-3-3): Malafeev; Aniukov, Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov; Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Arshavin. Subs: Akinfeev, Sharonov, Izmailov, Pavlyuchenko, Kombarov, Kokorin, Granat, Pogrebnyak, Nababkin, Glushakov, Semshov, Shunin.
Time to be Dad of the Year and change the channel to ESPN. “You’ve watched cartoons for four straight hours while Daddy made a wireframe document for a website. Here — play with Daddy’s iPad.”
(Man, Scooby Doo has some stilted dialogue.)
Anthems are being sung. While that’s happening, let’s talk about the standings and such. Russia could get through group with a win here, while Poland’s still going to need to do something beyond this game. Russia’s final group game is against Greece, and that could be a very rest-your-starters kind of affair. But they’ve got to deal with Poland first. And, you know, home crowd.
Kickoff. “Tension levels are high; they have been all day.” Well, lovely then.
2′: And we have our first hard tackle of the game, Russia on Poland. METAPHOR.
3′: And our first good run and counter of the game, started with Arshavin playing to Kerzhakov down the right flank, before Poland recovers and makes a chance of their own happen. Remember, Szczesny’s out as goalie because of the dumb red card from the last game. Also, I’m going to be cutting-and-pasting a lot today. Please bear with the lack of speed here.
6′: Poland wins another free kick. The Russians today: They are tackly.
7′: CHANCE! The free kick from Obraniak falls into Boenisch in front of the goal, but Malafeev is up to the challenge.
9′: And some lesser chances — one for each team. The GKs are on top of it so far, but this could be like yesterday’s nightcap game. Feeling pretty wide open so far.
11′: Kerzhakov gives Poland a sense of deja vu with Szczesny’s nightmare moment from last game, running in one-on-one against Tytov, but he’s ruled offsides, and Tytov wouldn’t be ruled with a foul there on the challenge.
11′: CHANCE! Lewandowski launches a volley that just skims over the bar!
12′: AND PAIN! Kerzhakov is tackled in the box and falls, but the German ref just ignores that.
13′: Perquis (a Polish player’s name I can type!) was the player who tackled Kerzhakov, and he’s bleeding now. He’s being treated. No sighting of the Magic Spray yet, but you know it’s on the way.
15′: And we’ve taken care of that whole bleeding thing. Poland’s full side back on.
18′: OH CRAP SAYS THE HOST NATION. Looked like a goal for Poland, but Polanski was ruled offsides.
20′: A sweet run inside the box for Lewandowski ends with an Ignashevich challenge and a won corner kick, but nothing comes of it.
23′: Another chance for Poland, but Obraniak’s cross in pings around the box before getting cleared. Poland’s looking like they’re going to (legitimately) score here soon.
26′: Free kick for Arshavin from about 30 out, but Tyton handles it.
28: But OOOOOOH — Kerzhakov plays a lovely ball into Arshavin, right in front of the keeper, but he can’t convert.
29′: And remember how Kerzhakov couldn’t finish in the first game? That’s happening again now. He launches a ball into low orbit, and the commentators talk on this point for a bit.
31′: Crowd shot of Polish supporters clapping in unison. They’ve got rhythm.
36′: Russia wins a free kick from a dangerous spot just outside the 18 …
37′: … and GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL Russia! Arshavin serves it inside the box, and Dzagoev helps his Golden Boot chances with his third goal of the tournament. Beautiful header that was on point to two different Russian players converging, both of them slipping in front of the closest defender.
39′: And Poland almost gets the equalizer with an on-target shot. This, as Anthony Michael Hall famously said in Sixteen Candles, is getting good.
42′: And Dzagoev almost gets another goal, but Wasilewski slides in and saves Poland. The resultant corner is volleyed by Zhirkov, not too far wide of the post. Remember how Poland was looking good about 20 minutes ago? No longer.
45′: Kerzhakov was just Torrible there — had a really good look at goal but couldn’t quite finish. (Torrible: My new word for Torres-level horrible striker play. You like it?)
TWEEEEET. It is halftime now. Enjoy Soviet Itchy and Scratchy on the break.
And we’re back. Russia to kick off.
46′: Nice run from Lewandowski there, but he runs out of real estate and can only ping it off Malafeev for a corner … which results in nothing.
50′: Blown chance for Russia there on a solid run and a pass into the box that can’t find one of two waiting strikers — and then, at the other end, a nicely-played ball to Lewandowski that he can’t quite finish on.
52′: Arshavin kicks a ball across the face of goal, and Casey Keller basically asks, “Is it a crappy cross to no one or a crappy off-target shot on goal?” Either way, it skitters out of danger, and we’re back to more runs and missed chances.
56′: GOOOOOOOAAAAAL Poland! And it’s Blaszczykowski on a counter, and a crazzzzzyyy rip from outside the 18, curving, looking like it was going to be wide, and then curling inside the post at the last minute. Pretty. (And we’re even.)
60′: Discipline — and it’s Lewandowski booked after a collision with Denisov. I believe that’s our first yellow of the game. Actually, on further review, Denisov was booked as well.
66′: Updates in the last six minutes — Poland launches a ball into space from midfield, Russia muffs a corner, and we get replays of Blaszczykowski’s sweet goal.
67′: CHANCE! Nice attempt for Dzagoev in the box.
69′: AND CHANCE! It’s Polanski at the other end!
70′: It’s a Euro 2012 tradition. For the second game in a row, Kerzhakov can’t finish and so he can’t finish — and Pavlyuchenko comes on for him.
72′: Arshavin shoots, but it’s a slow roller that is easily scooped up.
73′: After Boenisch goes cosmonaut to close out a promising Polish threat, Mierzejewski comes on for Dudka.
75′: WELL THEN. Dzagoev gets mugged and midfield, wants the foul, doesn’t get it, lets the ref know how he really feels, and gets a yellow for his troubles.
77′: Add to my cut-and-paste list: Boenisch boots one over the crossbar.
79′: PAIN! Polanski and Zhirkov collide. There is much rolling around on the ground.
80′: Izmailov on for Dzagoev. Russia’s not risking it with the newly-disciplined Golden Boot leader.
81′: Good run by Poland, the ref lets them play advantage on an obvious foul, but Obraniak can’t do more at the end than chip it directly at a waiting Malafeev.
82′: Polanski gets yellowed.
85′: And now Matuszczyk on for Polanski.
88′: Lewandowski goes on a run but it gets snuffed out by the Russian defense. A tie’s not a bad outcome for either team — if the results hold, Russia can get through group with a win or tie vs. Greece, whereas Poland would need to beat the Czech Republic to advance (assuming Greece doesn’t beat Russia).
90′ + 3: Brozek on to spell Obraniak for the game’s final 15 seconds, and almost touches a free kick sent into the box.
And that’s it! It’s final from Warsaw, 1-1. Be sure to come back tomorrow for Group of Death action! (Mmmmmm, Group of Death.)