Robert Lewandowski is at his peak, but the Polish defence seems to leak goals with ease.

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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 

Oct 2016
After a 2-2 draw in Kazakhstan, things get back on track with wins over Denmark and Armenia.
Mar 2017
A 2-1 victory in Montenegro puts Poland top of their qualifying group at the halfway stage.
Sep 2017
A 4-0 loss to Denmark reduces their lead at the top to three points with three games to play.
Oct 2017
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

On the 23rd of March, Poland lost 1-0 to Nigeria and then beat South Korea 3-2 on the 27th. They will then warm-up against Chile on the 8th of June, and finally Lithuania on the 12th.

  • 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

Poland kick off their World Cup campaign against Senegal on the 19th of June. Colombia follow on the 24th, and then Japan on the 28th.

Related: World Cup Fixtures

The Coach 

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.

Ending Contract: Nawalka’s contract finishes at the end of the tournament, so will be looking to go out with a bang (Getty Images)

 

The Players
Stars
Robert Lewandowski confirmed his world-class ability as the top scorer in the qualifying campaign with 16 goals.
Stalwarts
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.
Missing
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.
Debuts
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

Defenders – Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Marcin Kaminski, Michae Padzan, Lukasz Piszczek

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.

On Fire: Lewandowski scored 16 goals during the qualifying campaign, 13 more than anyone else in the team (Getty Images)

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.

Rock: Glik acts as the rock of the Polish defence, but it still is a problem (Getty Images)

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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