Karagounis: We Cannot Afford Mistakes

  • Last Updated: June 8 2012, 9:07 BST

Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis has warned his side they can afford no mistakes their Euro 2012 Group A opener against co-hosts Poland in Warsaw on Friday night.

Giorgos Karagounis: Every game will be a final

The Greeks opened their 2004 triumph by beating hosts Portugal, and they will be looking for a repeat at the National Stadium.

They have gained a reputation for being tough to beat having lost just one of 21 games under Fernando Santos, and were unbeaten during their qualifying campaign.

But former Inter Milan playmaker Karagounis, 35, who played a part in the surprise 2004 victory, knows tournament football demands another level of performance, and that he and his team-mates need to treat every game like a final.

"In such a tournament every game is a final, let alone when we speak for the opening match of the group and the whole tournament," he told a press conference

"It's a proper final. Since there are so few games that we will play, no mistakes are allowed."

Santos has injury concerns over defender Vassilis Torosidis, who has a knee problem, and Sotiris Ninis, who is set to overcome a shoulder issue to feature.

His Polish counterpart Franciszek Smuda, meanwhile, has doubts over the fitness of defender Damien Perquis as the Sochaux centre-half recovers from an elbow fracture he suffered in March.

And captain Jakub Blaszczykowski says he and his team-mates will realise a dream as they open a major finals on home soil.

The group draw has landed the co-hosts in arguably the most easily negotiable group in the tournament, and hopes are high of a place in the knockout stages despite Poland being the lowest ranked side in the competition.

But Borussia Dortmund winger Blaszczykowski insists that the pressure to perform will only serve as a motivation to he and his team-mates, and that the team will go out and try to enjoy the occasion.

The 26-year-old told a press conference: "The whole country has great expectations and we are aware of it but it will only motivate us to win.

"These are things players wait their whole career for - to play in a tournament like this, in such a great stadium.

"This is a dream come true, the only thing we can do is realise those dreams and make them last."