Some quick thoughts on the bedlam I experienced in Warsaw yesterday. I decided to make the journey into town to watch the game in the fanzone that I was talking about a couple of days ago. So how would the day go, how would the fans react and would Poland get the result it wanted?
Firstly the journey into town. Warsaw’s city council outdid itself regarding its transport arrangements. They flooded the city with trams, there were almost more trams than people on the way to the stadium! So I made my way to the town centre without a problem and met my mate. Millions of people were everywhere in the centre, I’ve never seen such crowds in Warsaw so it was a bit of a shock.
We then made our way into the fan zone and found a place to watch the game. It was absolutely packed with many having a few too many to drink. There was a lot of not so enjoyable stuff, like orchestrated singing but in general it was a pretty good atmosphere and people seemed pretty upbeat. It was however deathly hot and I brought my coat with me due to a downpour earlier in the day, not the best idea!
So onto the game. Well Poland started like a house on fire, pressing from the front and scaring the lives out of the Greeks. They got the goal they deserved and the whole crowd went wild, and for the next 20 minutes the fans were singing ‘We want another one’, which was quite funny as this was often done even when the Poles weren’t even attacking! Despite the initial Polish dominance the Greeks grew into the game but after an undeserved sending off the score at half-time was 1-0 to Poland.
In the second half Greece took the game to Poland and equalised in the 51st minute. Quiet descended around us as many fans seemed to think the chance for victory had come and gone. In the 70th minute Greece were even given the opportunity to go ahead when Szczęsny gave away a penalty and was sent off. The penalty decision was met with howls of pain from the fans but amazingly the kick itself was saved by substitute keeper Przemysław Tytoń. The crowd went wild once more but Poland continued to lack ideas and the match fizzled out into a 1-1 draw.
After the game there was an absolute mess in the town centre, many fans looked exhausted by the emotional effort made in watching the match. I’m really not sure if I’m going to head to the fanzone again, way too many people for me, too hot and not enough analysis which you get on the telly.
My overall impression at full-time was that it seemed like Polish fans didn’t care too much about the result, indeed what is more important, the party or what happens on the pitch? If the Poles continue to play like they did yesterday, the party is definitely going to be the main memory most Poles will take away from the tournament, which, at the end of the day, is not such a bad thing.
So onto Russia on Tuesday. I predict a loss there, but a victory against the Czechs and the Poles sneaking through to the quarter-finals.