Warsaw, Poland – Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is arguably one of modern football’s deadliest hitmen. After switching from Bayern Munich to Barcelona this summer, many were arguing that he would struggle to adapt. However, like fish in water, Lewandowski has been proving the critics wrong, bagging goals both in La Liga and Champions League games.
At 34-years of age, the Blaugrana forward is going through one of his best peaks of form. A total of 11 goals in 8 games, including a hat-trick in his first Champions League game with his new team, are numbers to be proud of.
Poland’s expectations of their superstar couldn’t be higher, as he carries the nation’s hopes of making it as far as possible in the upcoming World Cup competition. Lewandowski is Poland’s all-time top scorer with 76 goals, way ahead of retired Polish superstars Lubanski (48 goals) and Lato (45 goals).
Having won almost everything there is to win in football, the Polish striker is now eyeing the World Cup Golden Boot, which he missed four years ago. England’s captain and Tottenham Hotspur’s striker Harry Kane is the current holder after walking away with it in 2018 in Russia, scoring six goals in the tournament.
This title would set Lewandowski as a serious contender for the Ballon D’Or, something which he surely would have been awarded in 2020 if the Covid pandemic had not canceled that year’s awards.
Lewandowski sends Poland to 2022 World Cup
The 2018 World Cup did not go well, both for Poland as a whole and for Lewandowski individually, as they finished last in a group with Colombia, Japan and Senegal. The star striker left Russia without a single goal scored.
This was their first World Cup appearance since 2006, and it did not go according to the bookmakers’ expectations for the team. But they didn’t lose hope, and after additional stellar seasons with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski once again helped Poland secure its place in the 2022 World Cup, which might be his last appearance in the competition.
The undisputed Bayern Munich hitman didn’t waste a 50th-minute penalty to put Poland ahead of Sweden in a 2-0 win in one of the European playoff finals earlier this year and send his team in their way to Qatar.
Piotr Zieliński placed the second goal for the team sealing Poland’s historic win against Sweden, the first time in over 30 years that they managed a win against the Swedish side.
Can Robert Lewandowski win the Golden Boot?
Lewandowski’s achievements speak for themselves. His goal-scoring ability, especially due to his positioning, technique, and finishing, all contribute to make him one of the world’s most respected football players.
Lewandowski was integral in Bayern’s UEFA Champions League win in 2019–2020, and has been named to the UEFA Team of the Year two times and the Champions League Squad of the Season a record four times. He is also the Champions League’s third-highest goal scorer since the tournament’s inception.
His goalscoring abilities are evidently beyond doubt, but his past World Cup performance casts a shadow on his impeccable track-record. If Poland reaches at least the quarter-finals, there is a chance Lewandowski can compete for the Golden Boot.
But right now, according to Bovada, he is not even placed among the top 10 favorites to win the award, being priced at 51.00.
Expectations for Poland’s 2022 World Cup
So, how far can Poland get in the World Cup 2022? It is unlikely that Poland goes all-in to win the competition, although some people might argue that they can be a dark horse in the competition.
Poland’s best results in a World Cup date to 1982 and 1974 when they finished third. Since then, they never managed to go further than the round of 16, and commentators expect – at best – something similar to happen this year.
The current national team is captained by Robert Lewandowski, who carries the weight of the squad on his shoulders. The Polish side can rely on Napoli’s Zielinski and Juventus goalkeeper Szczęsny, but their backline with Glik and Bednarek is the biggest concern, seemingly struggling against teams with high-pressing and speed on the wings.
First facing Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, they do have a pretty good chance of getting past the group stage. If Leo Messi’s Argentina might be a tough nut to crack, the other two elements of Group C are within reach, if Poland seizes the opportunity.
The second place in the group will likely be decided between Poland and Mexico, and the game between both sides will be crucial for the outcome. Football bookies put Poland and Mexico tied with the same odds of getting past the group stage.