Euro 2012 - Team profile: Poland

Fri, 25 May 13:08:00 2012

Co-hosts Poland will rely heavily on their trio of Borussia Dortmund players as they seek to prove they may be viewed as 'last, but not least' at Euro 2012.

Poland team - 0

Poland, at 65 in the FIFA rankings, are the lowest-ranked nation in the tournament, but coach Franciszek Smuda believes they can progress to the quarter-finals from Group A where they face Russia, Greece and Czech Republic.

"The goal is clear - to advance from the group," Smuda, who will turn 64 during the tournament, was quoted as saying by

"And when you advance in a tournament, you get a kick out of it. We don't have big stars. We can achieve something only as a team."

The team, which under Smuda has a moderate record of 12 wins, 11 draws and eight losses, does have one big talent - striker Robert Lewandowski, the 23-year-old whose goals have helped Borussia Dortmund retain the Bundesliga title.

Defender Lukasz Piszczek and midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski, together with Lewandowski, give the Bundesliga champions a strong Polish spine that the coach hopes will stiffen the national team in its second appearance at the Euro finals.

Poland made a hapless debut in 2008 and are seeking a revival in fortunes nearly 30 years after finishing third, for the second time, at the 1982 World Cup finals. They were also third in 1974.

The country has spent around 830 million building four Euro 2012 venues virtually from scratch, but has failed to create a team that satisfies home supporters' dreams and ambitions.

Apart from the three Borussia players, Arsenal's 22-year-old goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny appears to be the only other clearly established starter for Poland's opening game against Greece on June 8.

Lacking local talent, Poland searched far and wide for players with Polish roots and granted Polish nationality to several willing players based elsewhere.

The squad has included defenders Damien Perquis from Sochaux and Werder Bremen's Sebastian Boenisch, as well as midfielders Ludovic Obraniak from Bordeaux, Fortuna Dusseldorf's Adam Matuszczyk and Mainz's Eugen Polanski.

All were either born or raised abroad.

Poland will rely heavily on their trio of Dortmund players as they seek to prove they may be viewed as 'last, but not least' at Euro 2012. - 2


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