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Security tight in Warsaw ahead of Poland-Russia contest

Riot police block opposition supporters and separate them from members of the pro-President Yanukovich Regions Party during a rally in Ukraine

Riot police block opposition supporters and separate them from members of the pro-President Yanukovich Regions Party during a rally against a draft law on languages, which was scheduled to be discussed during a session in the Ukrainian parliament, with an advertising banner of a Euro 2012 sponsor seen in the background, near the parliament building in Kiev June 5, 2012. A crowd of Ukrainians, angry over a parliamentary vote that would increase the role of the Russian language in the country, clashed with police on Tuesday at a “fan zone” set up in the capital Kiev for the Euro 2012 soccer championship. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SPORT SOCCER)

REUTERS

Emotions are high and security level even higher as kickoff draws near between the old Cold War center pieces. (The match is second up today, at 2:45 p.m. ET.)

I’m no expert on security or geopolitics, but I’m thinking that Polish cabinet members probably didn’t help by ending their weekly session holding aloft Poland team scarves and repeating a traditional fan chant: “Into battle, Poles, into battle.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Russian fans are planning Russia Day celebrations inside the Warsaw city center; hoping to inspire their team on a national holiday, one marking the 1990 declaration of Russia’s independence from the Soviet Union.

I’ve been to international sporting events with heavy political undertow, and believe me, it’s tense. I will never forget the feeling (not to mention the concentric rings of security that required everyone to do extra hiking that day) around the United States-Iran match at World Cup 1998. Like I said, tense.