Euro 2012 Preview: Poland

Euro 2012 Preview: Poland
COACH
BEST SHOWING

QUALIFICATION
CURRENT WORLD RANKING
HIGHEST WORLD RANKING
LOWEST WORLD RANKING

TOURNAMENT ODDS
Francizsek Smuda
Group Stages 2008
As Hosts
62
16 (September 2007)
75 (March 2012)
50/1 (totesports)


FIXTURES
8th June – Greece (1700 BST,Warsaw)
12th June – Russia (1945 BST, Warsaw)
16th June – Czech Republic (1945 BST, Wroclaw)

After a very disappointing performance in Euro 2008, the Poles followed that with a horrific qualifying campaign for the World Cup finishing above only San Marino in their group despite having led it after three games.

This led to Stefan Majewski being replaced by Francizsek Smuda, a man who led Widzew Lodz and Wisla Krakow to Polish titles in the 1990s.

The lead up to Euro 2012 has been a smattering of good results with the Poles pulling out a surprise upset over Argentina last June along with holding Germany to a draw and one or two poor ones, a loss to Lithuania being the lowlight.

The Poles may play a 4-2-3-1 system with Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny the likely starter ahead of Gunners team-mate Lukasz Fabianski and PSV’s Przemyslaw Tyton.

Defence is a weakness with Smuda quipping that “If someone can find a class defender with a Polish passport they deserve a special bonus” and he has yet to find a settled combination at the back, right-back Lukasz Piszczek is probably the pick of the defenders.

The midfield does have a little bit of quality with Borussia Dortmund’s Jakub Blaszczykowski and Ludovic Obraniak of Bordeaux.

Robert Lewandowski will bear the workload upfront, part of the successful Dortmund side this year, he has 13 international goals to his name.

ONE TO WATCH – ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Lewandowski has been in superb form for Dortmund this year having netted 23 league goals in the side that won the German title.

He started off in the third tier of Polish football, his goals helping Znicz Pruszkow win promotion in 2007.

He followed this on by netting 21 times in 2007/08 before signing for Lech Poznan, his prolific goalscoring form continued and attracted the attention of Borussia Dortmund with him joining the German club in 2010

A natural finisher with clever movement,skill,pace and power blessed with an ability to score all sorts of goals mean he’ll be an handful for opposition defences and this tournament could elevate him to one of Europe’s elite strikers.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE

Host Nations with what on paper isn’t a bad draw.Poland have been less than impressive in recent times competitively but home advantage can help in tournaments, look at Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in the African Cup Of Nations for example and the Poles can rely on passionate backing.
If Smuda can find the right balance to his team and overcome the central midfield’s lack of guile and creativity they can cause teams problem especially with the quality of Blaszczykowski and Lewandowski.Szczesny has also had a good season for Arsenal and won’t concede many if he has a settled backline in front of him.
VERDICT – Quarter Finals for my money.

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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