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Euro 2012: Matchday One


Finally a chance to move from a considerable amount of nothings to a lot of somethings worth paying attention to, with Euro 2012 kicking off today in Poland and continuing throughout the month. There'll be two matches per day for the next week and a half, allowing us a chance to shift our focus from Liverpool to actually meaningful international competition.

You'd have to work pretty hard to miss coverage of the next month's proceedings, with pretty much every major sporting outlet worldwide airing group and knockout round action. We've got the links for streams below in case you don't have any sort of television coverage, but if you do it's likely that you'll be able to see everything live. As has been the case during the Premier League season, we'll welcome any links or listings that we don't have posted, so please let us know in the comments below and we'll add as they become available.

Poland v. Greece
5:00PM BST/12:00PM EST

Greece's title in 2004 will live long in the collective memory for being a wonderful underdog story, and also a story that makes you want to suffocate yourself. Every time they're involved in any sort of important match we'll hear about it, and it's likely that their win eight years ago will be mentioned more than a few times throughout the competition. Impressive, no doubt, but not something that you'd be looking forward to tomorrow. Poland's got a few key names---Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Błaszczykowski (Kuba) from Borussia Dortmund and Wojciech Szczęsny from Arsenal lead the charge for one of the host nations---and should give Greece a healthy challenge in the opening match of the competition. Greece are far more defensive than Poland, and there's more attacking talent (and talent overall) for Franciscek Smuda's side. If they're able to find a breakthrough against a Grecian squad that will look to take advantage of set pieces and slowing play, it'll be a positive opening for one of the host nations.

Russia v. Czech Republic
7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST

Russia's probably one of the favored teams in Group A to advance to the knockout stages, but the Czech Republic have a solid defense anchored by an on-form Petr Cech in goal, and a midfield that's spearheaded by a resurgent Tomas Rosicky with former Liverpool man Milan Baros up front. Andrei Arshavin is the most recognizable name for Premier League fans, but any who've followed him in his return to Zenit St. Petersburg will recognize many names from the Russian Premier League's most exciting squad. Roman Pavlyuchenko could also play a part, and the more free-flowing style by Dick Advocaat will surely test the Czech defense.

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