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Football
Poland boss Smuda asks for fans' support
Under fire manager Franciszek Smuda demands unity before Poland co-host the 2012 European Championship with Ukraine.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2011 17:06
Coach of Poland Franciszek Smuda (R) attends the UEFA EURO 2012 final draw ceremony [GALLO/GETTY] 

Embattled Poland manager Franciszek Smuda on Monday urged fans and the media to get behind the Euro 2012 co-hosts, amid criticism of his squad's readiness and a corruption probe of the Polish football federation.

"It's fashionable here to criticise. It's the number one thing. That doesn't help anyone," Smuda told reporters.

"It's fashionable here to criticise. It's the number one thing. That doesn't help anyone"

Franciszek Smuda

"We have six months left until Euro 2012. It's our tournament in our country. We need to stick together, to help both the team and the tournament. So I'm asking for just that one thing. Only together can we achieve this," he said.

"If we spend day after day facing criticism, it's not going to do any good."

Smuda was brought on board after the sacking of Dutchman Leo Beenhakker in October 2009 following Poland's failure to qualify for the following year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

He has faced repeated criticism of his tactics and player picks, and barracking from fans, as Poland limber up for next year's European Championships.

'No crisis'

Smuda played down repeated reports of dressing room bust ups.

"There's no crisis," he said. "There's a good atmosphere."

Like fellow hosts Ukraine, Poland have an automatic berth in next year's tournament and must rely on friendlies to get ready.

Their record has been mixed, though in September they almost pulled off a major upset at home against Germany, who they have never beaten, before a last-minute goal by the visitors levelled the score to 2-2.

In their most recent matches, at home last month, they lost 2-0 to Italy but went on to beat Hungary 2-1.

On Friday, they take on Bosnia-Herzegovina on neutral turf in the Mardan Stadium in the Turkish coastal resort of Antalya.

They faced the same opponents in the same stadium a year ago, drawing 2-2. Although the Bosnians failed to make it to Euro 2012, they were one of the surprises of the qualifying campaign, finishing second behind France in Group D with just a point's difference.

Source:
AFP
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