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Euro 2012 Group A Team Profile - Poland.

Seven years ago Mama7DAYS took us all on what turned out to be a memorable excursion to Poland.

A keen student of history, the paper's matriarch wanted us to appreciate the post-Soviet landscape of eastern Europe and the great geopolitical changes that had taken place since the crumbling of the Iron Curtain just 15 years earlier.

All we remember of the trip, however, was the Poles' penchant for drinking copious amounts of vodka, no matter what time of day, and the fact you could buy a lager called 'Smack'.



Robert Lewandowski is Poland's star man at Euro 2012

You may be wondering how all this relates to Poland's chances of Euro glory this summer. Well, any country that sells a drink called Smack clearly likes its vices and that's what big boss man Franciszek Smuda appreciates all too well.

In a bid to impress in front of their home fans the coach has decided to play the tough, no-nonsense guy and has been on an anti-alcohol crusade that has seen him drop anyone who has so much of a whiff of booze within a kilometre of them.

Former Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc is just one of the bad boys cast aside in Smuda's puritanical crusade, which some feel could actually hinder the hosts' chances of success - for the Poles, that will constitute getting out of the easiest group of the lot.

On one level the poor pool is a blessing, on the other a hindrance as it's only added to the pressure already heaped onto the side. On the plus side, in Robert Lewandowski, Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski, Smuda has three quality choirboys not tempted to indulge in Smack. The spine of the side were superb in helping Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title and they will fancy their chances of powering Poland to the knockout stages. Greg Wilcox

ECONOMIC FORECAST...

A growing economy with a young, fresh population makes it popular with the markets. It's also got good local knowledge of this summer's investment arena. However, whether the system can cope with the pressure of choppy financial waters as the tournament progresses is open to debate.

IF THEY WERE A EUROPEAN LEADER THEY'D BE...

HENRY VIII - (Heavy) weight of expectation forcing them to indulge a little too much, and hopeless in building trusting relationships. Divisive tendency to chop and change.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Jun 10, 2012
Words:407
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