On Sunday night, Poland suffered a 3-0 defeat against Colombia in Group H of the World Cup. It was the Eastern European country’s second defeat at Russia 2018, which means that Adam Nawalka’s team have suffered elimination from the competition. Poland were regarded as one of the favourites to qualify for the knockout stages from the very open Group H.
Expectations raised by an excellent qualification campaign
Poland are not a football giant or a team renowned for achievements at big international tournaments. However, they have a decent pedigree and an impressive record in qualifying.
Poland recorded eight wins in their ten qualification games, suffering just one defeat in the process. While they did not have giants of the European game in their qualifying group, the likes of Denmark, Montenegro and Romania could have all caused the Poles problems. They did not, and they cruised through to World Cup 2018.
The draw gave the Polish fans hope that they could make it past the group stages of a World Cup for the first time in 32 years. However, they lost their opening two group games, while scoring just once. It has been a disappointing campaign for Poland, to say the least.
Lewandowski once again a disappointment
Poland’s Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world game. The former Dortmund star scored 16 goals in qualifying, a high for the European qualifying section.
He is a deadly finisher and his national side’s talisman. In terms of quality, he is far above the rest of his international teammates at Russia 2018. Understandably, the team and fans look to the striker to inspire the team.
However, the 29-year-old has now played in three major tournaments and scored just one goal. The forward himself stated that he feels the team did not have enough quality to contend with their opponents.
The striker may have a point, as he has had very little to work with at World Cup 2018. He is not a striker that will craft much for himself, so needs his more creative teammates to create chances for him.
More often than not if he gets a chance in front of goal, he scores. His goalscoring record at both club and international level prove his credentials when it comes to finding the net.
Poland against Colombia ended up launching long balls towards the striker in the hope that something would stick. Instead, Lewandowski looked isolated and wasted in a weak team.
Only pride to play for against Japan
Poland now only has pride to play for against Japan in their final Group H game in Russia 2018. Nawalka’s side are underdogs at odds of 11/5 to beat the Asian nation, mainly due to their performance in the competition so far.
The likes of Lewandowski, Wojciech Szczesny and Jakub Blaszczykowski are highly experienced players who have played at the highest level for a long time.
It is not as if Poland have players who are not accustomed to big matches or playing in big tournaments. Everybody connected with the national side will be frustrated by the team’s elimination in the group stages, another group stage exit like in 2002 and 2006.
Maybe due to Lewandowski’s presence, people expected more from Poland. All those Poland players can do now is record a victory in their final game. However, judging from the team’s respective displays at the World Cup it is hard to see Lewandowski and his team winning their last group game.
Was Poland capable of producing better displays at World Cup 2018?
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