In 2020, Poland will be competing in their fourth UEFA Euro Championships and they will be hoping to improve upon their performance four years ago which saw them progress to the quarter-finals. Can Jerzy Brzeczek’s side make it through to the final four for the first time in history?
Poland have been given an outside chance of success this summer, are 84.00 in the Euro 2020 betting odds, and they have been drawn in a tough group alongside Sweden and Spain. However, there are rarely any easy games at this tournament, and under Adam Nawalka, they managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets in the group stage despite being drawn alongside Germany and Ukraine.
Poland enjoyed a fruitful qualifying campaign, losing just one of their ten Group G matches. Fans were quick to acknowledge that it wasn’t the toughest qualifying group with Austria and Slovenia providing their stiffest tests. The Bialo-Czerwoni finished with 25 points, scoring 18 times and conceding on just five occasions.
Group E opponents
At the time of writing, only two of Poland’s three opponents have been confirmed. They will face both Spain and Sweden during the opening couple of weeks of the tournament. La Roja are three-time winners of the European Championship and although they were underwhelming at the 2018 World Cup, they looked much better during qualifying and will be expected to finish top of Group E. They were unbeaten during qualifying, despite being drawn alongside Sweden. The Swedes are all about team spirit and Janne Andersson’s side are incredibly difficult to beat. They’ve lost just two of their last 17 games across all competitions.
The remaining spot will be taken by one of: Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Slovakia.
Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly the star of this Polish team and the Bayern Munich striker continues to be their biggest threat. The 31-year old is prolific domestically, however he notched just a single goal for his country during Euro 2016. He did manage to find the net on six occasions during qualifying and has made a decent start to 2020 in the Bundesliga.
Arkadiusz Milik is another striker who will be hoping to make an impression this summer. He is a regular scorer in Serie A, although he managed just a single goal during qualifying. He scored the winner against Northern Ireland four years ago and could play a crucial role once again.
Krzysztop Piatek hit the ground running at AC Milan, however the striker made an underwhelming start to the current campaign and now finds himself in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin. He scored four goals in six appearances during qualifying and if he can recapture that kind of form, he could be one of the stars of Euro 2020.
Kamil Grosicki is a creative hub and enjoyed a productive spell at Hull City. However, since signing for promotion-chasing West Brom, he hasn’t featured as often as he would have liked. Although the midfielder netted during qualifying, he has never found the net at a major tournament.
Sebastian Szymanski is a young player that many Polish football fans are excited to see play at Euro 2020. He is just 20 years old and is plying his trade in the Russian Premier League. He found the net during qualifying and is a bundle of energy and creativity in the centre of the park.
Kamil Glik is one of the most experienced members of the Polish team and the 32-year old may be playing in his final major tournament. He helped his side keep three consecutive clean sheets during Euro 2016, and he’ll be hoping for a similar outcome four years later.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths: Although Poland appear to be top heavy, they have a very impressive back-line and with Kamil Glik and Jan Bednarek teaming up once again, they will be aiming to keep it tight throughout the group stage. Wojciech Szczesny is also a very competent goalkeeper who will offer his defenders plenty of confidence and assurance. At the other end of the field, Poland have plenty of firepower with three top strikers to choose from. If Lewandowski is having an off-day, Jerzy Brzeczek can deploy Arkadiusz Milik or Krzysztop Piatek.
Weaknesses: Creativity can often be a problem in this side, and they may struggle to carve out chances for the frontmen. Lewandowski is far more prolific at club level due to the amount of opportunities that are presented to him. Although they were very impressive going forward during qualifying, it remains to be seen whether they will get as much time on the ball against better opposition here.
How will Poland perform at Euro 2020?
Although Poland enjoyed a productive Euro 2016 campaign, they have arguably been drawn in a tough group this time around. There is the potential to sneak into second spot ahead of Sweden, however, this is unlikely to be straightforward.
Unfortunately, the Bialo-Czerwoni may not create enough chances against defensively-adept Sweden and they may just fall short of qualifying for the last 16.
Prediction: Group stage exit (possibly decided by goal difference)
Main photo credit: Marcin Karczewski/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images
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