Far from its glory days of the golden generation of Lato, Boniek, Zmuda and company between 1974 and 1982, Poland is a tough and tactically ductile team. Next Wednesday’s Argentine rival, with Robert Lewandoski as the undisputed leader, can give more than one headache, beyond a way of playing that is not aesthetic in the eye of the average soccer player.
Czeslaw Michniewicz took charge of the team just before the Qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, replacing the Portuguese Paulo Sousa who terminated his contract to manage Flamengo of Brazil. With a rapid process of adapting to the new DT, Michniewicz achieved a difficult team identity, beyond the tactical fluctuations that go from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3, going through a 4-4-1-1 that possibly use before the selection of Scaloni. It is not for nothing that he is nicknamed the “Polish Mourinho”
The strong card of the Polish team is its individuality, which forms a backbone with enough talent to respond to the lack of associated play, with Robert Lewandowski, captain and guarantee of effectiveness in the area, as the great protagonist. The man who knew how to conquer the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, currently in Barcelona, is the striker in whom Polish illusions are deposited. Against the Saudis he scored his first goal in a World Cup.
The author of the other Polish goal against Saudi Arabia, Piotr Zieliński, can also give more than one headache. He is creative and plays with both profiles. Quick and highly skilled at solving in tight space under pressure in midfield, he moved close to Lewandoski, almost like a midfielder.
In defense, both Kamil Glik and Bartosz Bereszyński are central markers used to the friction of Italian football, since they play respectively in Sampdoria and Benevento. On the other hand, there is also Matty Cash, who is the owner of the right lane, not only with defensive tasks: he is projected and proposed for the Polish attack.
However, beyond defense and attack, the other great name that Poland has is its goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny. The goalkeeper had the difficult task of taking the place of the legendary Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus and he did it remarkably. The son of a Legia Warsaw goalkeeper (his brother is also a goalkeeper) at the age of 15 he left Legia to try his luck in English football, more precisely at Arsenal. It is his second World Cup and he came to Qatar ready to show that he is a great goalkeeper.
For Poland, Wednesday’s game can be gold or mud. A loss to Argentina will leave them open to elimination if Saudi Arabia defeats Mexico. “Leo Messi saved Argentina. On Wednesday they will fight Poland for the round of 16,” Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Poland’s main newspapers, expressed some regret.
Saudi Arabia was ambitious at the start of the game against Poland, with an image similar to the one it had left in the match against Mexico. However, the Saudi team was ineffective and their arrivals collided with the very good task of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. After the saved penalty, he numbed the game and finished it off. Poland is like those old “testing” boxers: it numbs, at times it bores, but it has the experience and skills to give anyone a hard time. And Argentina knows it.