Poland are playing in their eighth World Cup, having stormed through their qualifying campaign.
It’s a talented side and one that will believe they can go far. talkSPORT.com takes an in-depth look…
Adam Nawalka played for Poland at the 1978 World Cup where the midfielder appeared five times. He was given the national job in 2013, having spent his coaching career in Poland and guided the team to the Euro 2016 quarter-final and into their first World Cup since 2006.
Robert Lewandowski‘s leadership during qualifying was crucial to the team playing in their first World Cup since 2006. He is the main striker, but offers so much more and his team-mates absolutely love playing alongside him. “He doesn’t just hang about up front and score, he joins in the team play. He’s a terrific footballer and it’s a pleasure playing alongside him,” Arjen Robben said, while his former boss, Pep Guardiola said: “He is the most professional player I have ever met. In his head, he thinks about the right food, sleep and training 24 hours a day. He is always there, never injured, because he focuses on these things.”
Robert Lewandowski. When you have him in your side then you’ve got a chance. He scored 16 goals in 10 qualifying games and was responsible for 64 per cent of Poland’s goals. According to Nawalka, the 27-year-old is “the best striker in the world,” which is hard to disagree with. During qualifying he also became his country’s top scoring player when he surpassed Wlodzimierz Lubanskis previous record of 48. At the time of writing Lewandowski has scored 52 times in 93 games.
ONE TO WATCH
Piotr Zielinski is better than Kevin De Bruyne, according to Zbigniew Boniek, the former Poland international and now chairman of the country’s FA. In terms of quality, I think Zielinski is even superior to De Bruyne, he told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport newspaper. They are different players, clearly, but have the same impact on a squad. I am still waiting for him to fully bloom, because he has a lot more to show. I think Zielinski will become a genuine superstar. Liverpool were heavily linked with him in 2016 and were prepared to pay Udinese £11.75million for him, but he ultimately joined Napoli instead where the 24-year-old has a new fan in former manager Maurizio Sarri.
Tuesday, June 19: Poland v SENEGAL (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow) – kick-off 16:00Sunday, June 24: Poland v COLOMBIA (Kazan Arena, Kazan) – kick-off 19:00Thursday, June 28: JAPAN v Poland (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd) – kick-off 15:00
RECORD IN QUALIFYING
They won eight of their 10 games and confirmed their place as Group E winners on the final day when a 4-2 victory against Montenegro meant second placed Denmark were unable to catch them.
Fans will probably be expecting another run towards the knock-out stage and will think their team has enough quality to escape a group containing Senegal, Japan and Colombia. To get them ready, they will play two friendlies with the first being against Chile on 8 June and the other being against Lithuania on 12 June.
Hyatt Regency, Sochi
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