In our Poland Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Poland team. Led by Robert Lewandowski, how far can the Poles go in this World Cup?
Poland Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Bartosz Balkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny
Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Berezynski, Thiago Cionek, Artur Jedrejczyk, Kamil Glik, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek
Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski, Jacek Goralski, Kamil Grosicki, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Rafal Kurzawa, Karol Linetty, Slawomir Peszko, Maciej Rybus, Piotr Zielinski
Forwards: Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Lukasz Teodorczyk
- Manager: Adam Nawalka
- Captain: Robert Lewandowski
- Best Finish: Third (1974,1982)
Likely starting lineup
The last three years have been a prosperous time for Polish football, as they head to the World Cup finals for the first time since 2006.
In the European Championship in 2016 they produced a fine performance, making it all the way to the quarter-finals before losing out to eventual champions Portugal on penalties. It was a sign that this talented crop was beginning to realise their potential on the biggest stage.
The progress made under the tutelage of Nawalka was capped off by the nation achieving their best ever FIFA ranking in the summer of 2017 too, as Poland found themselves up in fifth spot. In a favourable group here, they will back themselves to make another step forward as a team.
On paper the team is there to do it, as Poland have talent in all areas, most notably in the form of their talismanic striker Lewandowski. But there have been issues for Nawalka to contend with ahead of the competition.
The biggest problem is that a number of his typical starting XI are short of match practice. Jakub Blaszczykowski was injured for much of the campaign, while Wojciech Szczesny and Arkadiusz Milik were backup options for their respective club sides.
Even Piotr Zielinski, who is expected to play an important role in this Poland side, was a rotation option for Napoli and his midfield partner Grzegorz Krychowiak endured a campaign to forget at West Bromwich Albion, who were relegated last season.
Factor in the shoulder injury suffered by key defender Kamil Glik—he picked up the problem during a game of football tennis attempting an overhead kick—and this has the feel of a team that may be a little slow to get going in Russia. Nawalka will hope that by the time fitness and chemistry is found, it’s not too late for his side.
Key Man – Robert Lewandowski
There may be doubts about a number of important players in the Poland squad, but Nawalka will be confident he can rely on Lewandowski to be a potent threat up top.
Granted, the Bayern Munich man does enter this competition after a semi-turbulent few months. He was criticised for missing a number of chances in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, while the striker has also been linked with a possible move to the Spanish giants this summer.
Even so, in the main Lewandowski has been someone Poland can depend on, as he’s scored an impressive 53 goals for his country in 94 appearances. The challenge for the forward will be to keep up this ratio on his World Cup debut.
Much of Lewandowski’s success will depend on the supply line to him, but in a group that’s set to be so tight, someone so cold-blooded in front of goal is likely to count for a lot for Poland. On his right foot, left foot and in the air, the Bayern man is a ruthless finisher and can be the difference for his country in some even encounters.
Poland’s Group Stage fixtures
Tuesday, June 19
Sunday, June 24
Thursday, June 28
Poland’s path to the final
If Poland wins Group H, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group G which will either be England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia. If Poland wins that Round of 16 game, Poland will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group F (Germany, Mexico, South Korea or Sweden) and the team that finishes second in Group E (either Costa Rica, Serbia, Brazil or Switzerland). If Poland advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the B1 vs. A2 versus D1 vs. C2 series.
If Poland finishes second in Group H, Poland will play the team that finishes first in Group G (either England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia). If Poland wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group E (either Costa Rica, Serbia, Brazil or Switzerland) and the team that finishes second in Group F (either Germany, South Korea, Mexico or Sweden). If Poland advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the A1 vs. B2 versus C1 vs. D2 series.
Poland World Cup shirt (home)
Wearing the red and white of Poland, top scorer Robert Lewandowski leads Poland in its first World Cup appearance since 2006.
Poland World Cup shirt (away)
Nike Breathe fabric provides cool comfort. Dri-FIT technology wicks sweat. Stretch rib panels and a contoured fit for ease of movement. Engineered yarn on the sleeves gives an appearance of speed.
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