I’m the closest thing to an “expert” in piłka nożna, or what your people know as Polish Soccer, in my little circle of fanatics. So, of course I had to field a question about the Euro 2012 tournament the other day. How is Poland going to do?
The question required much research, and by much research, I mean I consulted the web missives of my two favorite Polish football bloggers: Michał Zachodny and Ryan Hubbard.
Hubbard writes at his own blog and at In Bed With Maradona. IBWM has been running a series of cases for and against each of the Euro teams. Hubbard took on Poland. The first thing that Hubbard addressed is how the team qualified for the tournament:
Erm, they voted for Michel Platini!
The fact that they are automatic qualifiers is a problem, he thinks. Their squad hasn’t gone through the heat of qualifying. To make up for that, the team has been playing a series of friendlies to prepare. Their next friendly is Saturday against Andorra. Probably not the sternest test.
They did have a tougher friendly this weekend against Slovakia. It was a chance for Franciszek Smuda to have a look at bench players. Despite the win, the backups didn’t impress, says Zachodny over at his blog.
Still, I’ll give Poland a bit of an edge in qualifying for the next round because they are a home team. I see them beating Greece (which Jakub Błaszczykowski is calling a must win). It still will be an up hill battle, but stealing a point against Russia or even the Czech Republic would get them through.
As for who you should expect to see out there, Błaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski and Łukasz Piszczek all play for Borussia Dortmund. Lewandowski scored 21 times for Dortmund last season, and has scored seven in Poland’s friendlies during the qualifying period. Błaszczykowski has scored 5 for the Białe-Orły in those games, including one against the US in October of 2010.
You can expect to see three from Dortmund, but those hoping for the Polish goalkeeping duo from Arsenal to make an appearance will be disappointed. Łukasz Fabiański has been sidelined due to a shoulder injury. But, just like at Arsenal, the performance of the younger Wojciech Szczęsny would have probably limited his playing time at the tournament. Fabiański’s replacement is Jagiellonia Białystok’s Grzegorz Sandomierski.
Here is the full squad. Of course, Smuda may add others.
|#||Pos.||Player||Date of Birth (Age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Wojciech Szczęsny||April 18, 1990 (age 22)||9||0||Arsenal FC (ENG)|
|12||GK||Grzegorz Sandomierski||September 5, 1989 (age 22)||3||0||Jagiellonia Białystok|
|22||GK||Przemysław Tytoń||January 4, 1987 (age 25)||5||0||PSV Eindhoven (NED)|
|2||DF||Sebastian Boenisch||February 1, 1987 (age 25)||5||0||Werder Bremen (GER)|
|3||DF||Grzegorz Wojtkowiak||January 26, 1984 (age 28)||18||0||TSV 1860 Munchen (GER)|
|4||DF||Damien Perquis||April 10, 1984 (age 28)||6||1||Sochaux (FRA)|
|13||DF||Marcin Wasilewski||June 9, 1980 (age 31)||47||1||Anderlecht (BEL)|
|14||DF||Jakub Wawrzyniak||July 7, 1983 (age 28)||26||0||Legia Warszawa|
|15||DF||Marcin Kamiński||January 15, 1992 (age 20)||3||0||Lech Poznań|
|20||DF||Łukasz Piszczek||June 3, 1985 (age 26)||23||0||Borussia Dortmund (GER)|
|5||MF||Dariusz Dudka||December 9, 1983 (age 28)||62||2||Auxerre (FRA)|
|6||MF||Adam Matuszczyk||February 14, 1989 (age 23)||19||1||Fortuna Düsseldorf (GER)|
|7||MF||Eugen Polanski||March 17, 1986 (age 26)||7||0||Mainz 05 (GER)|
|8||MF||Maciej Rybus||August 19, 1989 (age 22)||20||1||Terek Grozny (RUS)|
|10||MF||Ludovic Obraniak||November 10, 1984 (age 27)||22||4||Bordeaux (FRA)|
|11||MF||Rafał Murawski||October 9, 1981 (age 30)||42||1||Lech Poznań|
|16||MF||Jakub Błaszczykowski Captain||December 14, 1985 (age 26)||50||8||Borussia Dortmund (GER)|
|18||MF||Adrian Mierzejewski||November 6, 1986 (age 25)||22||1||Trabzonspor (TUR)|
|19||MF||Rafał Wolski||November 10, 1992 (age 19)||2||0||Legia Warszawa (POL)|
|21||MF||Kamil Grosicki||June 8, 1988 (age 23)||12||0||Sivasspor (TUR)|
|9||FW||Robert Lewandowski||August 21, 1988 (age 23)||41||13||Borussia Dortmund (GER)|
|17||FW||Artur Sobiech||June 12, 1990 (age 21)||4||1||Hannover 96 (GER)|
|23||FW||Paweł Brożek||April 21, 1983 (age 29)||34||8||Celtic FC (SCO)|