World Cup 2018 Preview - Poland

Thu, Jun 14 2018

Poland fans Credit: Billy Galligan

Team: Poland

Manager: Adam Nawalka

Group: H

Other teams in group: Japan, Colombia and Senegal

 

THE SQUAD

Poland bring a very attacking and creative team to the World Cup in Russia but had the worst defence of all the European group winners. Poland’s squad is headlined by star striker Robert Lewandowski with other attacking options coming in the form of Jakub Blaszczykowski, Kamil Grosicki and Piotr Zielinski. Poland have 20 clubs represented in their squad with 8 different leagues also being represented, they also will have 4 home grown players in the final 23 man squad. Poland bring a mix of youth and experience to Russia, with the oldest player in the squad being 33 years old, while the youngest is 21 years old. Poland’s average age is 23.8.

The squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus).

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL), Kamil Glik (AS Monaco), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw).

Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (VfL Wolfsburg), Jacek Góralski (Ludogorets Razgrad), Kamil Grosicki (Hull City), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion), Rafal Kurzawa (Górnik Zabrze), Karol Linetty (Sampdoria), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli).

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (Anderlecht)

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Poland reached the World Cup after winning 8 out of 10 games securing top spot in Group E of qualification. Their journey to Russia was never easy and began with a 2-2 draw with Kazakhstan before they managed to get their first win in a 3-2 victory over Denmark. Further victories over Armenia (2-1), Romina (3-0) and Montenegro (2-1) had them sitting top of the group after 5 games. Poland managed to win 4 out of their remaining 5 games with the only loss coming in a heavy 4-0 defeat to Denmark.

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Robert Lewandowski

The 29 year old Bayern Munich forward is the hero and captain of his nation, Poland’s all time goalscorer and the first player to score 16 goals in a European campaign, he is hungry for more in Russia. Lewandowski is only competing in his first Word Cup due to Poland’s failure to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups respectively. Since his first senior call up in 2008, Lewandowski has appeared 95 times for his country scoring 55 goals.

Kamil Grosicki

The wideman is one of Poland’s deadliest weapons aside from striker Lewandowski, combined the pair have been phenomenal in front of goal. A pacey and prolific winger, Grosicki has been known to create as many goals as he has put away for his side scoring 3 goals and assisting on 3 occasions during qualification. Grosicki made his international debut in 2008 and has since made 52 appearances scoring 12 goals.

Jakub Blaszczykowski

The elder statesman of his side, Blaszczykowski now 32 years old has been one of his countries most respected players. Blaszczykowski will feature in his first World Cup this summer in Russia having had set backs previously – he was ruled out with injury for the 2006 World Cup and Poland failed to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Blaszczykowski is no stranger to heartbreak and struggle as footballer and has been through quite a lot. As a child after seeing his mother stabbed to death by his father, this horror resulted in him quitting football before his uncle Jerzy Brzeczek encouraged him to resume playing. Jakub made his international debut in 2006 and has since made 97 caps scoring 19 goals.

WHERE THEY ARE PLAYING AND STAYING

19/06: Poland v Senegal, Spartak Stadium Moscow

24/06: Poland v Colombia, Kazan Arena Kazan

28/06: Japan V Poland , Volgograd Arena Volgograd

Poland will be staying at the Hyatt Regency luxury hotel right in the middle of the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. The FIFA Fan Zone is not far from the hotel which offers 198 rooms and suites with panoramic sea views. The Polish team will train in the Sputnik Stadium which is five kilometres south of the hotel. Built to international standards in 2005, Sputnik was the largest football arena in the south of Russia at the time. Their base is 22 hours from Moscow, 29 hours from Kazan and 15 hours from Volgograd.

 

THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE TEAM

This is Poland’s first time competing in the World Cup since 2006. Poland finished second bottom of their 2010 World Cup qualification group despite being drawn in a seemingly easy group with Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and San Marino. In 2014 Poland also failed to qualify coming fourth in their group behind England, Ukraine and Montenegro.

Poland are now the 8th best ranked nation in wold football. This is their second best ranking to date – they were ranked 5th in 2017 after making the quarter finals of Euro 2016 and impressing in qualification for Russia. Their lowest ever rank came in 2013 where they were ranked 76th after finishing bottom of their Euro 2012 group along with their 2014 qualification campaign.

Poland have two nicknames for their national side, they include "Bialo-czerwoni" which means "The white-reds" and "Orly" which translates into "The Eagles". These are the most common names associated to the Polish national football team.

THEIR RECENT FORM

Poland bring a mixed run of form to Russia, they have won 5 of their last 10 games beating Lithuania (4-0), Korea Republic (3-2), Montenegro (4-2), Armenia (6-1) and Kazakhstan (3-0). They have had two draws in those 10 games, a scoreless draw with Uruguay and a 2-2 draw with Chille. Poland also have tasted defeat 3 times, losing 1-0 to Nigeria and Mexico respectively and their other loss back in September 2017 in that 4-0 loss to Denmark.

First game: The Poles play Senegal in their opening Group H fixture on 19th June in the Spartak Stadium Moscow.