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Lewandowski looking to go out on a high

Group D preview: Poland

2024/06/11 12:49
E3

Poland somehow made it to this summer's finals, despite finishing third in qualifying behind Albania and Czech Republic.

The Poles seized upon a Nations League lifeline, however, and play-off wins over Estonia and Wales (via a penalty shoot-out) secured their spot in Germany.

Losing quarter-finalists at Euro 2016, when they lost to eventual winners Portugal, Poland's only two European Championship victories came in that tournament and the odds appear stacked against them again.

Keep an eye out for Playmaker's definitive guide to the Euros, complete with profiles on all 24 nations competing, in the latest issue of 'The Mighty Delta'


@Getty /

Star man

He may be the wrong side of 35 and slowing under the Catalan sun, but Robert Lewandowski is still the man the Biało-Czerwoni will turn to upon the German pitches he terrorised when at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Euro 2024 will likely be Lewy’s last major international tournament and, while he will undoubtedly leave the national team in a better state than when he joined it, he’ll be desperate to go out with a bang..


Poland's Euro 2024 squad

PositionNameTeam
Goalkeeper
Italy
Bologna
Goalkeeper
Italy
Juventus
Goalkeeper
France
Nice
Defender
Germany
Kaiserslautern
Defender
Italy
Empoli
Defender
Poland
Lech Poznan
Defender
England
Arsenal
Defender
Italy
Hellas Verona
Defender
Italy
Empoli
Defender
England
Southampton
Midfielder
Poland
Jagiellonia Bialystok
Midfielder
Bulgaria
Ludogorets Razgrad
Midfielder
USA
Atlanta United
Midfielder
England
Brighton & Hove Albion
Midfielder
Italy
Roma
Midfielder
Italy
Bologna
Midfielder
France
Lens
Midfielder
Greece
AEK
Midfielder
Italy
Napoli
Midfielder
Turkey
Fenerbahçe
Forward
Turkey
Antalyaspor
Forward
Italy
Hellas Verona
Forward
Poland
Pogon Szczecin
Forward
Spain
Barcelona
Forward
Turkey
Basaksehir
Forward
Belgium
Club Brugge
[G=Games, M=Minutes, GS=Goals Scored, YC=Yellow cards, 2Y=Double Yellows, RC=Red cards]


@Getty /

Young gun

The youngest member of the Polish squad, 22-year-old Nicola Zalewski is already an integral part of Michał Probierz’s preferred eleven. Normally a midfielder, Zalewski has thrived as a left-sided wing-back at international level and chipped in with four assists since his coach’s tactical tweak.

The Italian-born talent has found game time at AS Roma hard to come by since Jose Mourinho's exit and these Euros will provide a timely opportunity for him to showcase his skills.


@James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Wildcard

There were high hopes for Jakub Piotrowski when he left Poland for Belgium in 2018; yet mediocre spells at Genk and Fortuna Dusseldorf had largely extinguished them by the time he arrived at Ludogorets in 2022.

However, the now-26-year-old has been rejuvenated in Bulgaria and is finally showing signs of fulfilling his potential. He only made his senior international debut in October, but Piotrowski has admirably filled Grzegorz Krychowiak's shoes and even bagged a couple of goals.


Opinion

With three defeats from their opening five games in qualifying, the Poles were extremely lucky to reach Germany.

Since former U21 coach Probierz replaced Fernando Santos, both performances and morale have improved tenfold. However, Poland are reliant on the aging Lewandowski and Szczęsny and are the lowest-ranked team in the 'Group of Death'. So, all the signs point to an early exit.

Barring disaster, Probierz’s job isn't solely dependent on results in Germany; he is seen as the man to transition the Reprezentacja to its next generation.


Preferred formation: 3-5-2




Comments

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motivo:
2024-06-11 13h56m by ocollinsworth
As a football fan, I have to say that I am surprised to see Poland make it to the finals this summer, especially after finishing third in qualifying. However, their determination in the Nations League and impressive wins in the play-offs show their resilience. Although they may have a tough road ahead, with only two European Championship victories under their belt, I believe they can once again surprise everyone with their star player, Robert Lewandowski, leading the way. Can't wait for the Euros and looking
JW
2024-06-11 13h32m by jwhiteheadbarnes
As a football fan, I have to admit Poland's qualification journey to this year's Euro finals has been impressive. But let's not forget, they were third in their qualifying group behind Albania and Czech Republic. However, they redeemed themselves through the Nations League play-offs and secured their spot in Germany. Let's see if they can live up to their quarter-final performance from 2016. And can we please take a moment to appreciate Robert Lewandowski, who continues to be the star
2024-06-11 13h25m by banderson1976
Wow, Poland really defied the odds to make it to the Euros! Playmaker's guide has me excited, but I'm a bit worried about their chances. Good luck to Lewandowski, he's always a force to be reckoned with.
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