Poland, Austria eye first win


Poland and Austria are under pressure to finally record a win at the European Championship or be among the first to be eliminated from this year’s competition. Appearing in the competition for the first time, both lost their first Group B matches.

“It’s all or nothing. We need a victory,” Austria coach Josef Hickersberger said. “So does Poland.” Poland defender Michal Zewlakow took it a step further. “We all know this is a match to stay alive,” he said. “It’s going to be a war.”

Unfortunately for Poland, injuries have left coach Leo Beenhakker without some of his best weapons up front. Captain Maciej Zurawski has been ruled out of at least the first round games after straining his right quadriceps in Poland’s 2-0 opening loss to Germany. The striker’s injury further depletes a Poland attack already suffering from the absence of speedy midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski, who quit the team’s camp and returned to Poland last week after aggravating a hamstring injury.

Despite their 2-0 loss to Germany, the Poles have taken encouragement from their play in the opener, and like their chances against a team lacking the star power of the tournament favourites.