Euro 2012 kicks off

The tournament is underway. There was some disturbing news about racist chants, but now we can focus on the games.

Robert Lewandowski scored the opening goal in the 2012 European Championship as co-hosts Poland settled for a draw against Greece. Hours later, Russia set the tournament for Group A with a 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic.

Poland may regain its footing after the draw. The squad features forward Lewandowski, midfielder Jakub Blascykowski and defender Lukasz Piszczek, all key players in Borrussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga triumph.

Greece pulled a major upset by winning the tournament in 2004, but is the weakest team in this tournament. The Czech Republic has neither the sufficient firepower up front nor a disciplined enough defense to get much further.

Meanwhile, Russia showed all of the discipline that the Czechs lacked. Its defense was well organized, its midfield effective and its offense comfortable. The Russians look unlikely to break under pressure, and may repeat their 2008 feat of reaching the semifinals, or do better.

Today we’ll see the group of death.