After a 2-0 win over Sweden in the UEFA World Cup Qualifying playoffs, Poland’s National Team secured its spot in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Placed in Group C, along with Argentina, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, Poland won’t have an easy route making it past the group stage. However, these five reasons give Poland’s National Team a chance at making it to the Round of 16.
Poland’s best shot at making it past the group round is through forward and captain Robert Lewandowski. Having already played in the 2018 World Cup, Lewandowski will help lead the Poland National Team with his experience. As the most capped player on the Polish National Team with 132, Lewandowski also holds the title as Poland’s all-time top scorer with 76 international goals. Lewandowski has won the Best FIFA Men’s Player twice, in 2020 and 2021, and in those same years, he won the European Golden Shoe for being the leading goal scorer in Europe. At 33, Lewandowski could be playing in his last World Cup, and he will want to make it count.
Past World Cup Experience
While Lewandowski headlines the Polish National Team, he will have a number of other players by his side with valuable experience. Poland will have two experienced goalies in Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, with Szczęsny playing a strong game in the qualifying playoff to keep Sweden scoreless. Forwards Dawid Kownacki and Arkadiusz Milik will also be next to Lewandowski on the front line while midfielders Piotr Zielinski and Grzegorz Krychowiak are planning to return as well, with Krychowiak scoring one of the goals for Poland in 2018. The defense will be bolstered by veteran experience in Jan Bednarek, who scored Poland’s other goal in 2018, Kamil Glik and Bartosz Bereszynski. With these players and a few others making their return to the World Cup odds, Poland’s solid veteran presence should prove to be helpful.
History at the World Cup
The 2018 World Cup was the first time since 2006 the Poland National Team qualified for the tournament, with Poland appearing in eight World Cups overall. Although Poland’s recent appearances didn’t see the team make it past the group stage, the national team has been successful. Poland’s best finish at the World Cup came in 1974 and 1982 during Poland’s Golden Era, when the team finished third both years. Although Poland’s recent endeavors at the World Cup haven’t amounted to much, in a country where soccer is one of the most popular sports, the Polish National Team will want to get out of its group stage slump and make its country proud.
Strong Qualification Process
Finishing the UEFA World Cup Qualifying Tournament with a record of 7-2-2, Poland had a fairly strong qualification run. Competing in Group I, Poland competed against England, Albania, Hungary and others. The national team finished second in the group with a record of 6-2-2, with the seventh win coming over Sweden in the playoffs. Poland’s losses came at the hands of England and Hungary while the team’s draws also came against England and Hungary. Poland scored the second-highest number of goals in the group with 30, while they also had the second-highest goal differential at +19, No. 5 England outranked Poland in both categories. After placing second in the group round, Poland advanced to the playoffs, ultimately defeating Sweden 2-0 for their spot at the World Cup.
After manager Paulo Sousa terminated his contract with the Polish National Team at the end of 2021, Michniewicz was appointed at the end of January 2022 to take over. Michniewicz previously coached Legia Warsaw, helping the team win the Polish championship title in April 2021. Though Michniewicz has had success in the past and has guided the Poland National Team to a successful World cup soccer 2022 qualification, his contract is up at the end of the year. Michniewicz will be looking to prove himself at the tournament and take Poland far if he hopes for a contract extension.