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FIFA World Cup team profile: Poland look to shed underdog tag

Poland make their first appearance at the world stage in 12 years and will be looking to make up for lost time.

football Updated: Jun 11, 2018 18:11 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA World Cup,World Cup 2018,World Cup Russia
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates.(REUTERS)

Head coach: Adam Nawalka

World Cup history: Qualified seven times

Best: Finished third in 1974 and 1982

Qualifying route: Topped Group E in European qualifying

The last time Poland qualified for the FIFA World Cup was two years before Robert Lewandowski made his international debut. Twelve years later, the striker is the main reason behind their return to the tournament and he will also be the factor that will decide their fortunes in Russia.

With 16 goals in the qualifying campaign, the Bayern Munich star was simply unstoppable and as a result, Poland easily topped their group to book a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2018. However, when it comes to international tournament, Lewandowski has hardly ever set the stage on fire.

Lewandowski has played in two European championships for Poland, but was able to find the back of the net just once. In case he fails to fire once again, the responsibility will fall on Piotr Zielinski and Arkadiusz Milik. While Zielinski is touted as one of the future stars of the game and was hailed by former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri as the new Kevin de Bruyne, Milik was impressive in the Serie A this season and if he can hit his form once again, the Polish attack will be extremely difficult to stop.

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The other big name in the Poland squad is Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. His move to Italy has resurrected his career as he now stands as Poland’s clear number one ahead of Lukasz Fabianski.

Poland are well known for their swift attacking and they are expected to play a 3-5-2 formation with Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik playing as the strikers. The head coach - Adam Nawalka - has stuck to this formation in the qualifiers and it is unlikely that he will change tactics in Russia.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny

Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Lukasz Piszczek, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Michal Pazdan

Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski, Jacek Goralski, Kamil Grosicki, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Rafal Kurzawa, Karol Linetty, Slawomir Peszko, Maciej Rybus, Piotr Zielinski

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Lukasz Teodorczyk

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 18:11 IST