Player to watch: Robert Lewandowski

Striker Robert Lewandowski hopes co-hosts Poland will make light of their underdog tag and reach at least the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.


Lewandowski, 23, is Poland's key man having scored 30 goals in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund this season as they secured a domestic double.

He scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich in the final of the German Cup to further demonstrate his ability and comes into Euro 2012 as one of the continent's form strikers.

Lewandowski says he is painfully aware of Poland's high expectations ahead of the tournament, which is the first to be held behind the old "Iron Curtain" that once divided Europe.

He said: "Advancing from the group is the minimum target, but I hope we will be capable of more than that.

"I'd like to score a few goals in the tournament, but first and foremost it's important that the team plays well and wins points.

"Physical and psychological preparation is the most important piece of the puzzle - the pressure will be high and we have to prepare well not to have problems," said Lewandowski, the son of a judo and a volleyball player.

Poland, the largest ex-communist European Union member since 2004, hopes a successful organisation of the tournament will bring some international recognition and promote its economic success abroad.

The country's fans have had little to celebrate since Poland finished third at the 1982 World Cup finals, but are hopeful of progressing from a first round group with Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic.

"The group is so balanced that any team may win over the other, which only makes it more interesting. Nuances will decide on who goes further," Lewandowski said.

"It's a rare thing to play a championship tournament in one's own country. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any player really.

"And speaking from a wider perspective, Poland will benefit from it as a country. Many stadiums and roads have been built, other investments go on. Numerous football fans will come to see this is a country worth visiting."

On a personal note, Lewandowski hopes he can use the finals to secure another big transfer. He is valued at around 15 million Euros.

He said: "I'd like to try my luck in Britain or Spain. They are the leagues I like watching the most."

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