EURO STAR: Swansea City and Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski

10th June 2016

Poland's Euro 2016 adventure will strike a similar chord with Wales fans.
Poland face Northern Ireland in their opener before taking on arch rivals Germany and ending their Group C campaign against Ukraine - their co-hosts for the 2012 tournament.
It is the fixture against Germany that stands out, much like Wales' second group game with England, with Poland having beaten their big rivals for the first time during qualification for the tournament.
And with the media spotlight firmly focusing on this high-profile match, it is a game neither team will want to lose.

"It means something more to the fans than just a game," says Swans and Poland keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
"We beat them recently for the first time in Polish football, so we don't have to fear them.
"It will be played in Paris at the biggest stadium (Stade de France) of the tournament, so Uefa have looked at it as more than a group game.
"It will be special, but hopefully we can make it even more special."

Best result:
group stage 2008, 2012
Coach: Adam Nawałka
Leading scorers: all-time - Włodzimierz Lubański (48); current - Robert Lewandowski (34)
Most appearances: all-time - Michał Żewłakow (102); current - Jakub Błaszczykowski (75)
Association formed: 1919
Nickname: Biało-czerwoni (White and reds)
Where they play: National Stadium, Warsaw

Euro history
Overall: P106 W44 D30 L32 F167 A117
Final tournament: P6 W0 D3 L3 F3 A7
Qualifying: P100 W44 D27 L29 F164 A110

Euro 2016 fixtures
Sunday, June 12, 5pm (Nice): Poland v Northern Ireland - Group C
Thursday, June 16, 8pm (St-Denis): Germany v Poland - Group C
Tuesday, June 21, 5pm (Marseille): Ukraine v Poland - Group C

Similarly to Wales' hopes of progressing being heaped on the shoulders of Gareth Bale by many, Poland have their own star man - Robert Lewandowski.
The striker netted 13 goals in qualification, while he scored 42 from 51 appearances for Bayern Munich this term.
His hugely impressive record of 34 goals from 76 caps is enough to give Poland high hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
And Fabianski underlined the importance of Poland's key figure.

"Robert is our main guy, our goalscoring machine and skipper. He is massive for us," says the 31-year-old.
"It helps that he takes a lot of the attention from our team.
"Opposition defenders are so focused on him it gives space to the rest of the attacking players.
"That then results in the team not relying purely on Robert to score goals.
"Arkadiusz Milik - who plays for Ajax - and Bartosz Kapustka, who is in the Polish league for Cracovia, are very good players for us."
While Lewandowski is sure to be a key component in Poland's attack, Fabianski hopes to be given the nod between the sticks.
He faces competition from his former Arsenal team-mate Wojciech Szczęsny and Southampton stopper Artur Boruc for a place in the starting XI.
In Poland's final pre-tournament friendly, Fabianski started the first half before making way for Boruc in the 0-0 draw with Lithuania last Monday.
But, regardless of who is given the thumbs up, Fabianski insists the goalkeeping union will remain supportive.

"It's a tough choice for the manager as there is three of us competing for one position," he adds.
"We are all playing at the top level for good clubs, so it will be a big decision.
"We support each other and push each other - whoever plays will get the full support of the other two because we know the team is the most important thing."

See the final installment of our Euro Star feature on Friday as Neil Taylor describes his emotions as Wales participate in their first major tournament since 1958.