Euro 2012 got off to a lively start when Poland and Greece battled out an incident-packed 1-1 draw in Warsaw but, upon reflection, the co-hosts should realise they missed a massive opportunity to stake a claim for qualification out of what looks like being an unpredictable Group A.
Poland, backed by a fervent home support, were impressive in the first half and deservedly went in front through star striker Robert Lewandowski early on and looked certain at that point to record a comfortable win.
Indeed, following the harsh sending off of Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos on the stroke of half-time, Poland could have been forgiven for celebrating a morale-boosting win there and then.
But as good as they were before the break, they were equally as poor after it as they failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and score what would have surely been a decisive second.
Greece offered virtually nothing going forward in the first period but themselves were a team transformed in the second 45 minutes as they transferred their anger at the red card into an inspired, collective performance.
Dimitris Salpingidis’ equaliser galvanised the 2004 European champions further and, when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off and a penalty awarded, suddenly it was the Greeks who looked the more likely winners.
That was missed, of course, but with the sides level with ten men each, Poland retreated further into their shells and settled early for a point.
At half-time all the talk was that Poland looked every inch the dark horses many had predicted they could be in the tournament before the action began but, sadly for the thousands in the stands, at the end of the game the feeling must have been one of disappointment at a wasted chance gone begging.
Franciszek Smuda’s side showed enough in the first half to suggest they can progress out of the group but it looks like now they will have to do it the hard way.