Poland fans will still be praying that this team can echo the achievements of their ‘golden generation’ who managed a third-placed finish in both the ’74 and ’82 World Cups respectively. Then led by talisman Grzegorz Lato, could Robert Lewandowski similarly inspire a nation and go one better than his predecessor by achieving football’s ultimate feat?
Paddy footy trader Peter Healy takes a look at their chances at the World Cup 2022.
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Poland World Cup 2022 qualifying record
Poland finished second in their qualifying group to England, netting a whopping 30 goals along the way. A 2-0 win over Sweden in the play-offs secured their place in Qatar.
Who is the Poland manager?
Following Paolo Sousa’s acrimonious departure to Brazilian club Flamengo in December last year, Czesław Michniewicz took the reins heading into this World Cup. A well-respected manager domestically having led modest Zaglebie Lubin to the club’s second ever top-tier title, he most recently managed domestic heavyweights Legia Warsaw to a record 15th Polish Championship.
A poor start to last season resulted in a premature end to his tenure, but he’s already gone one better than his predecessor who presided over a Group Stage exit four years ago in Russia.
Poland World Cup squad
The man responsible for stopping goals will be Juventus shot-stopper Wojciech Szczęsny, but ahead of him Michniewicz likes to keep opponents guessing with his formation set-up. He has trialled 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 variants before lining up with 3-4-3 in his most recent two matches against Wales and Netherlands.
Should Matty Cash and Bartosz Bereszynski occupy the two full-back positions in a back four, there will be a tough fight amongst the plethora of centre-backs to fill the two vacant spots. Jakub Kiwior, Jan Bednarek and Kamil Glik will be hoping for a starting berth in the opening game against Mexico.
Grzegorz Krychowiak, formerly of Sevilla, Paris St. Germain and West Brom will occupy one of the deep-lying midfield positions. Partnering him in the engine room will be one or two of Leeds’ Mateusz Klich, Szymon Zurkowski or Karol Linetty. Pace, width and dynamism will be provided by tricky youngster Nicola Zalewski while the team’s creativity will be channeled through Napoli ace Piotr Zielinski. Robert Lewandowski will of course start up front and the only question mark is whether he will be partnered by Krzysztof Piatek or Arkadiusz Milik.
- Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczesny, Bartlomiej Dragowski, Lukasz Skorupski
- Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Kamil Glik, Robert Gumny, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Jakub Kiwior, Mateusz Wieteska, Bartosz Bereszynski, Matty Cash, Nicola Zalewski.
- Midfielders: Krystian Bielik, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Kamil Grosicki, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jakub Kaminski, Michal Skoras, Damian Szymanski, Sebastian Szymanski, Piotr Zielinski, Szymon Zurkowski.
- Forwards: Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Krzysztof Piatek, Karol Swiderski
Poland Key Player
The man, the myth, the legend. Of course, all eyes will be on Poland’s captain, Robert Lewandowski. Crudely dubbed Robert Lewan-goal-ski by his former team-mate Thomas Muller, the ex-Dortmund and Bayern man has been one of the world’s greatest goalscorers for the last decade.
After eight seasons in Munich (and as many Bundesliga titles), he left this summer for sunny Barcelona in the hope of being the catalyst for the reawakening of a sleeping giant. Poland’s captain, Lewandowski also holds the nation’s goalscoring record, is their most-capped player ever and will almost certainly go down as their greatest ever player too.
However, in what is likely to be his last appearance at a World Cup, he will be hoping to put on a strong performance to ensure his legacy as one of the world’s greatest strikers to have played the game.
Poland One to Watch
Aston Villa’s Matty Cash, born in Slough, England, will be making his first appearance at a World Cup finals. Qualifying for Polish citizenship through his mother, the former Nottingham Forest man made his debut for the Bialo-Czerwoni on the 12th of November 2021 in a 4-1 win against Andorra and scored his first international goal last June in a 2-2 draw against Netherlands. Aston Villa’s 2021-22 Player of the Season, Cash will be hoping to bring his Premier League form to the biggest stage of them all.
Poland World Cup Prospects
Poland failed to advance from the Group Stage at Euro 2020 despite a draw against eventual semi-finalists Spain, and they had no-such impressive results this time around. However, a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia proved key as they just snuck through in second place to set up their meeting with France in the last 16 on Sunday.
Poland World Cup Winner Odds
Poland World Cup 2022 Fixtures
November 22, 4pm: Poland 0-0 Mexico
November 26, 1pm: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia
November 30, 7pm: Poland 0-2 Argentina
December 4, 3pm: France v Poland
CLICK BELOW FOR TEAM PREVIEWS ON POLAND’S GROUP C RIVALS
- Argentina World Cup squad analysed
- Mexico World Cup squad analysed
- Saudi Arabia World Cup squad analysed
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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