Robert Lewandowski is at his peak, but the Polish defence seems to leak goals with ease.
Poland World Cup Fixtures, Squad. Group, Guide
Back at the World Cup finals after a 12-year absence, expectations are high after the euphoria of reaching the Euro quarter-finals in France last year. However, September’s 4-0 loss to Denmark – Poland’s worst defeat in a competitive game for 15 years – and a total of 14 goals conceded in qualifying (the most of any team finishing in the top two in a European group) provide a dose of realism.
Related: World Cup TV Schedule
Key Moments in Qualifying
After a 2-2 draw in Kazakhstan, things get back on track with wins over Denmark and Armenia.
A 2-1 victory in Montenegro puts Poland top of their qualifying group at the halfway stage.
A 4-0 loss to Denmark reduces their lead at the top to three points with three games to play.
Two late goals secure a 4-2 win at home to Montenegro and confirm Poland as group E winners.
Poland World Cup Group
Poland are in group H alongside Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
Poland World Cup Friendlies
- 23rd March – Nigeria (lost 1-0)
- 27th March – South Korea (won 3-2)
- 8th June – Chile
- 12th June – Lithuania
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Poland World Cup Fixtures
Related: World Cup Fixtures
Adam Nawalka, age 60 (23.10.57)
Appointed in October 2013 and on a contract until the end of the finals. Leo Beenhakker’s assistant for a year when the national team qualified for Euro 2008, his biggest solo successes have been winning the Polish title with Wisla Krakow and guiding the national side to the knockout stage of Euro 2016. A former midfielder with Wisla, he played for Poland at the 1978 finals.
Robert Lewandowski confirmed his world-class ability as the top scorer in the qualifying campaign with 16 goals.
Centre-back Kamil Glik was a rock at the heart of the defence, while right-back Lukasz Piszczek showed his potential in attack by scoring the winner against Montenegro in March. Playmaker Piotr Zielinski has become a key performer for the team.
Midfielder Bartosz Kapustka, once described as the country’s most promising youngster, was not called up for a year as he was not playing regular club football at Leicester City and then Freiburg. Arkadiusz Milik missed much of the campaign through injury.
Striker Kamil Wilczek played against Armenia, while midfielder Maciej Makuszewski got a game away to Denmark. Defender Jan Bednarek won his first cap at home to Kazakhstan.
Related: World Cup Stadiums
Poland World Cup Squad
Preliminary World Cup Squad –
Goalkeepers – Lukasz Fabianski, Lukasz Skorupski, Wojciech Szczesny
Midfielders – Jakub Blaszczykowski, Jacek Goralski, Kamil Grosicki, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Rafal Kurzawa, Karol Linetty, Krzysztof Maczynski, Taras Romanczuk, Maciej Rybus, Piotr Zielinski
Forwards – Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik
Poland World Cup Injuries
We will update you with all the injuries here.
The Unanswered Questions
Who would replace Robert Lewandowski if he gets injured?
Quite simply, there is no such player. The Bayern Munich striker was out with a muscle injury in October but this was later found to be due to exhaustion. Poland will need him fully fit in the summer.
Who will play at left-back?
Like his predecessors as coach, Nawalka is still looking for a natural left-footed player for what has been a problem position for some time. The likeliest candidate at the moment would seem to be Sampdoria’s right-back Bartosz Bereszynski.
Will Nawalka introduce a new playing system?
Instead of going with his favoured 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 set-up, he tried out a new 3-5-2 formation in November’s friendlies against Uruguay and Mexico. It is, however, too early to say whether he will use this system in Russia.
Are there likely to be any late additions to the squad for Russia?
After the last qualifier against Macedonia, Robert Lewandowski said “the team needs new blood”. But despite the coaching staff regularly monitoring a few dozen potential candidates there is a big problem with finding real replacements who are ready to play at international level. The squad’s lack of depth may be the team’s biggest problem.
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