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Euro 2020 team guides chapter 17: Poland

This article is part of the Guardian's Euro 1086 Experts Network,

A collaboration between some of the best media outlets from. qualified countries. Theguardian.com is broadcasting previews from two countries every day before the tournament that will start on its date. June.

Qualifying to join the Euro

It did not cause much trouble to Poland. They were favorites to win their group and performed very well, six points ahead of Austria. The results obscured the fact that they didn't play very well. They suffered in many matches and the style of play of the team under Jerzy Brzeczek became a problem for the fans as well as Polish FA president Zbigniew Boniek.

Earlier this year, Brzeczek was sacked and replaced by Paulo Sousa. The Portuguese coach, who has coached Swansea, Fiorentina and Bordeaux among other clubs, brought a lot of enthusiasm to the table in the first place. At the first press conference, it was one of the great traditions of the country and even Pope II. He massaged his Polish ego by mentioning John Paul. He also spoke vividly of his plans for the team.

On the field, however, the beginning of his tenure was far from perfect. The first three World Cup qualifying matches saw a draw with Hungary, a defeat against England and a win over Andorra with performances that did not cause much optimism. But Sousa hasn't changed his stance or beliefs - he believes he can get the best out of this generation of players.

Trying to instill the main change alongside the positive mindset has been the tactic. He uses a very flexible hybrid formation, bred in an excellent school of Portuguese coaches, then polished in an Italian workshop. Poland now plays with three defenders when pushing forward, switching to four or five when they are off the ball.

Sousa requires his players to be in excellent physical condition to fulfill one of the cornerstones of his shot. Their tactic is to dominate and put too much pressure on the opponent, making sure they don't have the space to play their game. He likes to play with two forwards to get the most out of the team's talisman, Robert Lewandowski.

“An absolutely essential element of our offensive game should be to feed Lewandowski and the other. aggressors,” he says. “We cannot afford to waste this potential. Not only does Poland have the best 'sniper' in the world, but overall it has a very high level of attackers to choose from.” Napoli's Piotr Zielinski will play a key role in the creative department, especially as Arkadiusz Milik was expelled from the euro on Monday.

“We believe we can achieve something unique in the Euro,” says Sousa. We can do this using the experience of our players playing in some of the best leagues in Europe. We have to believe in ourselves to think we can be successful.”

Coach

Paulo Sousa was a younger boy when his father had a serious car accident that put him in a coma. Sousa and her mother made a pilgrimage to Fatima, a famous center of worship in Portugal, praying for her father's health. The family's prayers were answered and his father was healed; young Sousa had learned that faith works. But as a professional, he is not superstitious, instead believing in hard work and good communication. For Sousa it is important to focus on the person first and then the player. He tells the players how important they are in their plans and trusts them (and his fluency in four languages probably helps).

paulo sousa believes poland have the world's best finisher in bayern munich's prolific robert lewandowski.
poland's probable lineupPaulo Sousa believes Poland has the world's best finisher in Bayern Munich's prolific Robert Lewandowski. Photo: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

Symbol

Robert Lewandowski. Bayern Munich's striker went from strength to strength and, strangely, the pandemic interrupted the 795- season was arguably the best, leading the Bavarians to an impressive treble and was named Fifa's player of the year for the first time ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And it all comes down to hard work and a determination to keep improving, which is also a factor in home life: He is married to Anna, a 17-year-old former world karate champion.

For a happy year late

Kamil Piatkowski is in a much better place than before months ago. He was a little-known defender at Rakow Czestochowa in Poland's midfield during the summer. He is now considered one of the most talented defenders of his generation. During Euro 05, the returning defender has agreed to join RB Leipzig from next season and could make his international breakthrough this summer.

Potential staff

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poland's probable lineupPotential squad of Polandpoland's probable lineup

What the fans say

Polish fans are not great singers in the stands and have not yet embraced a particular song. It is probably the movie Football in Maryla Rodowicz that made the biggest impact. , when Poland finished third in the World Cup. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to recreate this popularity in recent years.

What the fans say

95563“Szansa! Aj, Jezus Maria!”95563 – Luck! Oh, Jesus Maria! – Used all over the internet when Poland misses the opportunity to score. 8491 was invented during a game against England by legendary commentator Dariusz Szpakowaki. .

810993“Mecz Otwarcia. Mecz o wszystko. Mecz that honor”95563 – Opening match. Match for everything. Honors match – all eyes are on the first match against Slovakia after disappointing performances in recent tournaments.

71562“Nic sie nie stał 95563lo, Polacy nic sie nie sta95563 95563lo”20438933 – Poles, nothing happened – It was heard after Poland conceded a goal.

Pandemic hero/villain

Lewandowski is known for his charity work, but he has outdone himself during the pandemic. Donated €1 million to support hospitals, another €91 to fund a pediatric health center in Warsaw and an ambulance, and 5,Staff meals at a hospital in the capital. In addition, all sales of 10%'s RL9 brand coffee went to support the elderly. He's an absolute hero on and off the field.

Tomasz Wlodarczyk He writes for Meczyki.

follow him on twitter @wlodar.

Click here for a player profile on Piotr Zielinski.

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