Euro 2012 preview: Czech Republic v Poland

Can the co-hosts keep the feel-good factor alive? Group A, Wroclaw, kick-off 7:45pm (coverage starts 7:10pm BBC1)

Like Greece (playing at the same time tonight, against Russia) co-hosts Poland must win to progress to the knock-out stages, while the Czech Republic will get through with just a draw, having already beaten Greece (the qualification rules are a bit complicated but trust us, we’re


It would be a shame to lose a host nation this early in the competition, but Poland could do with being a bit more clinical in front of goal if they want to progress – they’ve scored only twice from 18 shots so far. The two goals they have netted have been peaches – Robert Lewandowsk’s powerful header from Jakub Blaszczykowski’s cross and a screaming long-range effort from the captain himself, met with rapture by the home fans. The neutral won’t want to say goodbye to moments like that any sooner than necessary…

ONE TO WATCH: Potentially on hand to help out the Poles is out of form Czech keeper Petr Cech of Chelsea, who has conceded five goals from just six shots on target so far, including one particular howler against Greece. 

HOME ADVANTAGE: The Czechs (as the Republic and the former Czechoslovakia) have lost just six of the 23 internationals they’ve played against Poland – but those Polish wins constitute their last six meetings on the co-hosts’ home turf.


PREDICTION: I hate to upset an Arsenal player, but Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky has already sustained enough injuries for my liking and a Polish win would be a feel-good boost for the competition, so: 2-1 Poland.