Long earmarked by the football community both European and afar as the day the 2012 European Championships begin, June 8 is finally upon us. Warsaw is already a simmering hive of activity as fans of co-hosts Poland and their Greek adversaries for the day descend on the National Stadium as this year’s tournament is officially sworn in, with the 17:00 kick-off now just hours away.
The much-anticipated Opening Ceremony of any major continental or global event following the breathtaking efforts staged by the Olympics in Sydney and Beijing, for example, will no doubt whet the appetite as we edge ever closer to the chief attraction of the football itself. Only 12 minutes long, the ceremony will feature Hungarian pianist Adam Gyorgy, supported by a legion of 800
distractions performers, and will inevitably be shrouded in utter over-indulgence and almost certainly confusingly irrelevance to the event itself.
Starting line-ups for the sides due to take to the field first are, expectedly, a little premature at this stage, although early news suggests Poland centre-back Damien Perquis faces a late fitness test to prove himself worthy of a starting berth, with the Greeks facing selection issues of their own thanks to the recent trials and tribulations of defender Vassilis Torosidis and pocket-sized and perennially under-achieving Parma midfielder Sotiris Ninis.
Further team news will be revealed as and when it is released from the depths of the sides’ respective training camps, with coaches Franciszek Smuda and Fernando Santos looking to engineer a group of players capable of firing their teams to the best possible starts.