Euro 2020: Late coaching change can catapult Poland

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Manager Jerzy Brzeczek was sacked in January after falling out with star man Robert Lewandowski. He was replaced with former Leicester, Swansea and QPR gaffer Paulo Sousa, who only has three games with Poland under his belt ahead of the tournament. Striker Krzysztof Piatek is ruled out with injury. Despite the issues Poland could still progress from what is a very competitive Group E. Spain are no longer the powerhouse of ten years ago while not much separates Poland, Sweden, and Slovakia.

Group E: POLAND, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden
Manager: Paulo Sousa
Odds (PP): 66/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (group stage), Euro 2016 (quarter finals)
FIFA World Ranking: 21st

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Key Man

Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker and 2020 World Player of the Year is by far Poland’s best player and is capable of single handedly dragging them into the knockout stages. The fact that ex-manager Brzeczek was sacked after falling out with Lewandowski shows how important he is to Poland. Fresh off the back of breaking Ger Muller’s 50-year record, scoring 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games, he is very much in form and will be hoping to continue his wonderful season at the Euros. 

The Squad

Sousa was one of the first managers to name his 26-man squad for the tournament.

The list starts with a very talented goalkeeping department. Juventus no.1 Wojciech Szczesny will likely start but not far off are West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski and Bologna’s Lukasz Skorupski.

Included in defence are veteran Kamil Glik, Southampton’s Jan Bednarek and Sampdoria’s Bartosz Bereszynski. All three are expected to start, with Barnsley’s Michal Helik also included after their impressive playoff run. Brighton’s Jakub Moder, Derby wideman Kamil Jozwiak and Lokomotiv Moscow’s Maciej Rybus are selected and will likely feature as the wingbacks.

Leeds Mateusz Klich, Torino’s Karol Linetty and Lokomotiv’s Grzegorz Krychowiak were selected in midfield, while Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski will feature further forward after a good season in Serie A.

Norwich winger Przemyslaw Placheta is also included.

Up top will be Lewandowski, partnered by Arkadiusz Milik, now at Marseilles while PAOK striker Karol Swiderski is also included.

One to Watch

Jakub Moder. The 22-year-old Brighton man impressed towards the end of the season, after being recalled from his loan at Lech Poznan in January. Capable of playing in centre midfield, on the left aswell as left back, Moder is both tall and athletic. He is also well able to finish, as seen in March when he swept a crisp finish past Pope against England.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Michal Helik (Barnsley), Tomasz Kedziora (Dynamo Kyiv), Kamil Piatkowski (Rakow Czestochowa), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Lech Poznan), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow)

Midfielders: Przemysław Frankowski (Chicago Fire), Kamil Jozwiak (Derby), Mateusz Klich (Leeds), Kacper Kozlowski (Pogon Szczecin), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moscow), Karol Linetty (Torino), Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemyslaw Placheta (Norwich), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Marseille), Karol Swiderski (PAOK), Jakub Swierczok (Piast Gliwice)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

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