2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Poland
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is Poland.
Poland comes into the 2022 World Cup on the heels of a rough UEFA Nations League campaign that saw them win two of six matches, beating Wales twice. To qualify for the World Cup “Orły” or “The Eagles” had to go through the playoffs after finishing second in their qualifying group behind an England team with title hopes. In the qualifying playoff, Poland was drawn against Russia and was given an automatic bye to the final where they beat Sweden 2-0. Ranked No. 26, “The Eagles” will be looking to get out of the group stage for the first time since 1986.
World Cup Appearances
In the last nine World Cups, including 2022, Poland has made only four appearances, going back-to-back in 2002 and 2006 and then again in 2018 and this year. Their first World Cup appearance came in 1938 but “The Eagles” did not appear again until 1974 which was the first of four straight bids. The 2022 World Cup will be Poland’s ninth-ever appearance at the World Cup.
Best Finish at a World Cup
Twice Poland has finished in third place at the World Cup. The first time was in 1974 when “The Eagles” finished second in their second-round group behind West Germany and were given a third-place berth against Brazil. This was the first World Cup for Brazil following the departure of Pele and Poland won 1-0. Then in 1982, Poland made it to the semifinal but lost 2-0 to eventual champions Italy. In the third-place match, they beat France 3-2 with all three goals coming in a span of six minutes.
When you think of Poland, you think of one player: superstar striker Robert Lewandowski. The Barcelona forward and Polish captain leads his nation in caps with 134 and goals with 76. Lewandowski is one of the best goal scorers in the world today and will be “The Eagles” best chance for advancing out of the group stage. The issue with Poland is that there is a major lack of depth after Lewandowski with Juventus’ Arkadiusz Milik being the second attacking option. In the midfield, they have Leeds United’s Mateusz Klich and Pogoń Szczecin’s Kamil Grosicki. The defense will be held together by center-back Kamil Glik, who is Poland’s fifth most-capped player, and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny.
Since taking over as the manager of Poland, Czesław Michniewicz has not had a great record by any means going 3-2-3 in eight matches. Michniewicz has worked his way through the ranks of Polish soccer having managed 10 different clubs plus the U21 Poland National Team. Most recently he managed Legia Warsaw and led them to the Ekstraklasa title in Poland’s top division.
Biggest Group Game – vs. Mexico on Nov. 22
As mentioned in the Mexico preview, this match will likely decide who the second team to advance from Group C at the 2022 World Cup is. With this being both teams’ first match, it will be very important for Poland to take control of their fate. It’s even more important to start on the right foot since “The Eagles” do not play group favorites Argentina until the last match and could secure their knockout stage spot with two wins before then.
Similar to Wales with Gareth Bale, this Poland side will only go as far as Lewandowski can take them. However, in a competitive Group C, the lack of depth for “The Eagles” could be their downfall. I feel that the lack of secondary scoring options will lead to Poland falling against Mexico and a win against Saudi Arabia will not be enough to stop their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign from coming to an end in the group stage once again.
Check out the Vendetta Twitch!!
SUBSCRIBE to the Vendetta YouTube!!