Poland Vs. Russia, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, Alan Dzagoev Has Russians Up 1-0

Poland and Russia are putting on a show in Warsaw, with the political tensions between the two nations and sets of fans apparently failing to affect the teams. The match has had plenty of intensity, but certainly nothing overly physical or dirty. Both teams are playing some very nice football and it's been a fast-paced match.

The hosts have had their opportunities to score, but it's Russia who go into the locker room with a lead. Poland did an excellent job defending Russia's attacks from open play for most of the first half, but their back line fell asleep on a set piece and they allowed a man much too small to regularly win headers on set pieces to win a header on a set piece.

Vyacheslav Malafeev was forced into the first big save of the first half, not that he knew anything about it. Sebastian Boenich was the man who created the chance, heading a cross on goal in the 7th minute, but Malafeev's positioning was good and the ball bounced off his knee. A minute later, Malafeev had to make yet another save on a Boenisch header and came up big again.

Poland appeared to score the opener in the 18th minute, but they were flagged for offside. Eugen Polanski got on the end of a through ball following a fantastic team move and applied the finish, but replays showed that he moved on the pass too early and that he was nearly a yard offside.

The hosts continued to attack and look like the better side until around the half-hour mark, when Russia started to look like the better team. Their improved play eventually led to a 37th minute goal, scored by Alan Dzagoev. Andrei Arshavin provided the assist with a well-taken free kick curled into the center of the box from the left flank, and Dzagoev completely lost his marker before nodding the ball past a helpless Przemyslaw Tyton.

Russia continued to apply pressure through the end of the half and probably should have had an opportunity to add another goal from the penalty spot. In first half stoppage time, Dzagoev was clearly taken down in the penalty area but the referee waived play on.

Poland will be encouraged by the way that they've played, but they're still down a goal after taking just one point from their first match. Moral victories don't mean much when a team has one point through two matches at a major tournament. They're going to need to find a way to avoid a loss in the second half.

We'll have live coverage of the game in our Poland vs. Russia, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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