To get all prepped up for Euro 2012, I'm highlighting each team. I'll be taking a look at who they are, who they've got, and what their chances are. FIrst up are co-hosts POLAND!
Here is the Provisional Roster lifted straight off of an English language Poland blog.
Here is Poland's 26-man provisional roster:
Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny, Przemyslaw Tyton
Defenders: Sebastian Boenisch, Kamil Glik, Marcin Kaminski, Tomasz Jodlowiec, Damien Perquis, Lukasz Piszczek, Marcin Wasilewski, Jakub Wawrzyniak, Grzegorz Wojtkowiak
Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski, Dariusz Dudka, Kamil Grosicki, Adam Matuszczyk, Adrian Mierzejewski, Rafal Murawski, Ludovic Obraniak, Eugen Polanski, Maciej Rybus, Rafal Wolski
Forwards: Pawel Brozek, Michal Kucharczyk, Robert Lewandowski, Artur Sobiech
Euro Group A
Poland have been a bit unlucky. The best players from that country don't play for them. Many soccer players were born in Poland and grew up in Germany. They now usually choose to be German. However, it's not all totally terrible for national team. They have qualified for the world cup a decent 7 times. Even more impressive, they have made it all the way to the semifinals. Twice. In both 1974 and 1982, they finished third. Unfortunately for the Poles, their glory days are long gone (I feel like that is true in general for most everything in the country) They failed to qualify for South Africa despite having a relatively easy group. The country has had even less luck in the Euros. They have qualified just one time before 2012. They got knocked out in the first round in 2008. However, they were impressive in qualifying. They topped a group that included both Portugal and Denmark.
Today, the national team are known as the White and Reds and the White Eagles. As hosts, expect them to don their white jerseys and red shorts. If they do wear away colors, expect red.
After lightly browsing their their somewhat recent games, I found a reasonable line-up involving a 4-2-3-1. This may or may not be their line-up come June, but I do believe it's got a good chance. The man in charge is Franciszek Smuda. He is a Polish man who was called to head the team after great success in the Polish league. He has been with the team since 2009. According to FIFA, Poland is the 65th best country in the world, 32nd in Europe.
Players of Mention
Wojciech Szczęsny Szczesny is something of a Polish goalkeeping super person. Not only has he been awesome and consistent for Arsenal, he has been amazing for his nation. If the team succeeds, it will largely be because of this man standing between the, er, poles. He is currently carrying a shoulder injury, but that should clear up by June.
Łukasz Fabiański- As we all know, Fabianski has been lounging on the bench all year. It is unlikely that he will start ahead of Szczesny. However, if the #1's shoulder injury persists, he may get the nod.
Wojciech Szczęsny The team will be leaning on him heavily.
Łukasz Piszczek A right back with a nice total of 63 starts for Borussia Dortmund since 2010. Dortmund, of course, repeated as Champs of the Bundesliga. Piszczek is a member of the Dortmund triumvirate on the Polish team.
Jakub Błaszczykowski Also known as Kuba, this is the captain of the Poland team. Kuba is part of the double winning Borussia Dortmund. He joins 2 teammates on the national team. He has been a bit injury struck in recent years, but appears to have rebounded from that.
Dariusz Dudka Dudka is the most capped Pole on the current team, with 61 appearances in Red and White. He has been with the senior team since 2004. Even so, he is still only 28. Dudka plies his trade with AJ Auxerre, who are relegated despite having one more game to go in the season.
Robert Lewandowski Finally, a Polish striker who lives in Germany but plays for his homeland. Lewando, oh, screw it. This is too long to write out every time. I'll just refer to him as Bob. Bob recently burst onto the global stage with Borussia Dortmund, the champions of the Bundesliga for two consecutive years. Bob was a vital component of the championship team, scoring 22 goals, none from the penalty spot en route to the Golden Boot. For his troubles, he was also named the league Player of the Season. Bob is one of 3 Dortmund players on the national team. As a proven goalscorer, expect him to be dangerous in June. That is, if he can get the chances.
The rest of the team is composed mostly of 20 somethings concentrated in Germany and Poland, though many can be found throughout Europe.
Chances in Euro 2012
Poland have talent. The team almost certainly is better than their FIFA ranking, probably because they didn't play any qualifiers as the host. The team is stocked with fairly young players with only 2 breaking 30, and even then, only just. In 4 years, Poland could have an almost identical team. Among them are key players for Borussia Dortmund. As co-hosts, Poland also have home field advantage. They will be cheered and supported wherever they go. They also have something of a soft group. That said, they will still be major underdogs in this tournament. Even if they find a way out of the group stage, they can expect to find themselves face to face with either Germany or Holland. Their other choices of Denmark and Portugal aren't much better.
Matches to Watch
Poland vs. Greece
This is the opener! That should certainly be enough to warrant watching (not that I have any other reasons) .
Poland vs. Russia
This is not interesting because of the football. This is interesting because of the history. Poland was once a satellite of communist Russia. As such, expect some animosity to be shown by the fans, maybe even the players.
I think Poland will be able to barely scrape into the second round where they will be demolished. But I won't be surprised if they fall in the group stage.
Poland- 2nd in Group A, knocked out in the Quarterfinals
Next Post- England