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April 30, 2017

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Greece get off to a poor start after blowing lead to tie 1-1 with Poland

Poland controlled the first half, exploiting the right side on the field and eventually taking the lead in the 17th minute.

Two of the Borussia Dortmund trio that work on the right side set up the goal. Midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski crossed into the center for Robert Lewandowski, and the striker calmly sent a downward header under the charging Costas Chalkias.

"We dominated the first half and we could have scored a couple more goals. The second half was something totally different," Poland defender Lukasz Piszczek said. "Greece stood up well against us despite playing with 10 men. We had trouble stopping the long ball and it cost us the first goal and then the penalty."

Most of the 56,070 fans at the sold out National Stadium roared after the goal, and took to whistling loudly every time the outmatched Greeks touched the ball. Perhaps the Greeks deserved it as they looked disjointed and struggled to contain the Polish attack in the first half.

It was that kind of defending that helped Greece win the Euro 2004 title. After beating Portugal in the opening match of that tournament, the Greeks beat the Portuguese again in the final to win their only major title.

"We don't give up and we don't like to lose," Greece striker Georgios Samaras said. "It's a question of mentality."

The Greeks will next face the Czech Republic on Tuesday in Wroclaw, while Poland stays in Warsaw to take on Russia.

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