Polish grannies strike Euro 2012 musical gold

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A group of Polish folk-singing grandmothers on Wednesday won the race to choose Poland's official team anthem for the looming European championships on home soil.

The 18-member group "Jarzebina" - Polish for rowanberry - swept aside established opponents including established rock and pop names, a ska band and a rapper with their upbeat ethno-tune "Koko Euro Spoko", which translates loosely as "Clucking Cool Euro".

Poland's football association had opened its "White and Red Hit" competition to all comers, with the list honed down to 10 ahead of a live concert on Wednesday where television viewers were able to cast mobile phone text ballots.

Jarzebina's success follows that of a similar outfit in Russia, the "Buranovskiye Babushki" (Buranovo Grannies), a group of elderly village women who were chosen to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest later this month.

Euro 2012 marks the first-ever edition of the quadrennial football showcase to take place in eastern Europe, with Poland hosting the tournament along with neighbouring Ukraine.

Some musical morale-boosting would not go amiss for Poland.

Like Ukraine, they have an automatic slot at the 16-nation championships and so have had to rely on friendlies to hone their skills -- with patchy results.

Having flunked their qualifying run for the 2010 World Cup, Poland have not played a competitive match since October 2009.

Fans in this nation of 38 million are desperate for a return to long-lost glory.

Poland won Olympic gold in 1972, silver in 1976, and finished third at the World Cup in 1974 and 1982.

But the decades since a second Olympic silver in 1992 have been lean, with solid World Cup qualifying runs turning into lacklustre finals performances in 2002 and 2006, just like their European championships debut in 2008.

Euro 2012 kicks off in Warsaw on June 8 and ends with the final in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on July 1.

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