Just How Good Are Poland?

Just How Good Are Poland?
Jun 26, 2016

Featured

Poland booked themselves a spot in the quarter-finals last night with their victory against Switzerland.

Granit Xhaka’s horrific miss from the spot was the difference between the two sides as the former Monchengladbach man was the only player to miss his penalty in the shootout.

Switzerland was the better side for the majority of the match – most certainly the second half and extra time. Poland, even when they were not at their best, were able to withstand the pressure and keep the game level.

Whether it was a fantastic Fabianski save, a heroic Pazdan block, or something else, they always found a way.

This Poland side has it all: flair, heart, pace, strength – you name it, they have it. They are capable of winning in any way, whether it’s counter-attacking against the top sides or dominating possession against the weaker ones.

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Poland are a successful counter-attacking side for many reasons. It all starts with the back 5 (including the goalkeeper, of course). Fabianski is a fantastic ‘keeper, and he made two saves against Switzerland that showed just how good he is – one on Rodriguez’s free kick and the other on Derdiyok’s header from three yards out.

The defense is composed of Łukasz Piszczek, Kamil Glik, Michał Pazdan, and Artur Jędrzejczyk. Piszczek is an experienced and defensively sound right back who is also capable of pushing forward. Glik is the leader of the team – even though Lewandowski is given the captain’s armband – and very reliable at the back. Pazdan is a warrior who never gives up. What he lacks in skill, he makes up in hard work and effort. The same goes for Jędrzejczyk.

The midfield is anchored by Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak. The tough-tackling midfielder is being pursued by the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and there’s a reason why. He covers every blade of grass on the pitch and is a fantastic ball winner. He and his partner in the middle, Krzysztof Mączyński, shield the back four very well, often stopping the ball from even getting there.

Jakub Błaszczykowski and Kamil Grosicki give Poland incredible pace down the wings, which is what allows them to break so quickly. The attack is then spearheaded by Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski, two quality strikers who are very capable of converting their chances.

There aren’t many better counter-attacking sides than Poland, and that is arguably their greatest strength.

But they still are capable of breaking down their opponents when they sit deep and organised themselves.

This was shown in their victory against Northern Ireland in their opener. They were dominant throughout, and could have scored three or four if they had been more clinical.

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They’ve done what they’ve done in the tournament all with Lewandowski being nowhere near his best, which is a very scary thought. How good can they be with the former Borussia Dortmund man firing on all cylinders?

Watch out for Poland – they might just surprise you and win it all.

Follow me on Twitter:

@Kia_NUFC

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