World Cup 2022 group guides half 11: Poland | Poland


This text is a part of the Guardian’s World Cup 2022 Specialists’ Community, a cooperation between a number of the greatest media organisations from the 32 international locations who certified. theguardian.com is working previews from two international locations every day within the run-up to the match kicking off on 20 November.

The plan

Czeslaw Michniewicz was in jovial temper when talking to journalists gathered for the announcement of his provisional World Cup squad. “The principle purpose on the World Cup?” he stated. “We joked that it might be acceptable to spend Barborka (Miners’ Day, 4 December) and Saint Nicholas Day (6 December) in Qatar. That’s our purpose as a result of it might imply that we acquired out of the group.”

That’s one thing Poland haven’t executed since Mexico 86. Often there’s a number of dialogue about studying from previous failures however this time the overall consensus among the many public appears to be: “Deeds, not phrases.”

It is extremely exhausting to foretell how far this group can go in Qatar however the Nations League video games supplied just a few clues. Poland weren’t ok to beat the Netherlands or Belgium however stronger than a slightly mediocre Wales facet. All of these groups have certified for the World Cup.

Michniewicz has been creating his “good” plan however accidents and lack of minutes for a number of the extra skilled gamers haven’t helped. It appears to be like like he’ll go for a three-man central defence and wing-backs. It’s, nevertheless, a hybrid formation that may shortly flip right into a again 4 if Poland are attacking and a again 5 when they’re defending. He used the system to good impact when teaching the under-21s, the place he took some huge scalps together with Italy, Belgium and Portugal.

As at all times lots rests on Robert Lewandowski, a striker who can rating in opposition to any defence, and this time he’s surrounded by gamers in kind: Sebastian Szymanski is blossoming at Feyenoord whereas Piotr Zielinski is having a implausible season as a part of a deadly Napoli machine. Perhaps qualifying for the knockout stage is a want that may lastly come true.

The coach

The Polish FA was given a Christmas shock final 12 months when Paulo Sousa introduced he was leaving to take over at Flamengo. After an extended seek for a brand new coach, with Fabio Cannavaro and Andriy Shevchenko being named as doable replacements, Czeslaw Michniewicz acquired the nod regardless of a turbulent spell at Legia Warsaw. The appointment was criticised in some quarters however Michniewicz acquired the job executed – qualifying Poland for the World Cup with a 2-0 playoff win over Sweden, who they’d not crushed for 45 years. Now comes the hardest problem in Michniewicz’s teaching profession. If he leads Poland into the knockout stage then a contract extension absolutely awaits.

Star participant

Robert Lewandowski was on the centre of some of the drawn-out switch sagas final summer time however was in the long run capable of be part of Barcelona after eight years at Bayern Munich. Talking at his Camp Nou unveiling he stated: “I really feel like a toddler who has entered a retailer full of latest toys.” He wanted a change however one factor has remained fixed: his goalscoring prowess. For Barcelona he scored 18 objectives in his first 17 video games, shortly dispelling any notion that he wouldn’t prosper exterior the Bundesliga. The query for Poland is whether or not Michniewicz’s system is getting one of the best out of him. Two objectives in six video games signifies there’s room for enchancment.

Karol Swiderski guides in Poland’s winner in Cardiff that consigned Wales to Nations League relegation.
Karol Swiderski guides within the Poland winner in Cardiff that consigned Wales to Nations League relegation. {Photograph}: Nick Potts/PA

Unsung hero

Harmless-looking however robust, fast and skilful, Karol Swiderski has managed to eke out a vital position as a goalscoring strike associate for Robert Lewandowski. Many have tried and lots of have failed earlier than him, however the Charlotte FC participant acquired his probability below Paulo Sousa – and took it. He scored 5 objectives in 9 qualifying video games after which each winners in opposition to Wales within the Nations League. Could properly return to Europe quickly, having moved to the MLS from PAOK in January.

Possible lineup

Poland probable lineup

Qatar stance

Neither the Polish FA nor the gamers have stated something publicly in regards to the World Cup being held in Qatar and it’s honest to say that they’ve been centered on giving neighbouring Ukraine all of the assist they will. Gamers have taken a really robust stance in opposition to the conflict; they refused to play Russia and Robert Lewandowski wore a Ukrainian armband and met Andriy Shevchenko in Warsaw. No shock, maybe, as Wojciech Szczesny and Tomasz Kedziora each have Ukrainian wives, the Dynamo Kyiv defender Kedziora’s different half having to flee the embattled metropolis after the invasion started. The Polish FA was additionally lively in main the requires Russia to be banned from worldwide soccer.

Nationwide anthem

It’s known as Dabrowski’s Mazurka, which implies “Poland just isn’t but misplaced”. The lyrics had been written by Jozef Wybicki in 1797 however the composer of the music stays unknown. The anthem is stuffed with patriotism and religion in regaining independence after it was misplaced within the Third Partition of Poland by Russia, Prussia and Austria. It expresses the concept regardless of now not being an impartial state, the nation would dwell on so long as the individuals had been combating in its title.

All-time cult hero

Within the Nineteen Eighties Zbigniew Boniek turned the primary Polish participant to star at a serious European membership. He had made his title within the legendary Widzew Lodz facet that brought on European shocks for each Manchester golf equipment and Juventus, who he joined in 1982. An awesome participant and a powerful character who was not afraid to talk his thoughts. For that he was extensively appreciated, however it additionally acquired him into bother at instances. c after giving up taking part in he was Polish FA president for 9 years earlier than changing into one among Uefa’s vice-presidents.

Tomasz Wlodarczyk writes for Meczyki. Comply with him right here on Twitter.





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