World Cup team preview: Poland

Poland boast an impressive attack with FC Bayern München striker Robert Lewandowski leading the line, however, they are prone to conceding a lot of goals as well.

In qualifying they scored 28 times in 10 matches and conceded 14. This is an area head coach Adam Nawalka is focusing on ahead of his team’s Group H opener against Senegal on June 19.

Also in the section are Colombia and Japan meaning the Poles have every chance of advancing to the knockout stages, either as group winners or as runners-up.

In the lead-up to the tournament, Nawalka has experimented with 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 3-4-3 in a bid to improve defensive cohesion as well as maintain attacking fluency.

In goal, the White and Reds have plenty of quality and experience with both Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski available. In the centre of defence expect Kamil Glik and Michal Pazdan to start while Lukasz Piszczek and Maciej Rybus control the right and left flanks respectively.

Creativity in the centre of the park is a concern, although Piotr Zielinski does have the potential to provide telling passes and dictate the play. Grzegorz Krychowiak will likely be his partner, though his form has dipped since impressing in Euro 2016.

The implementation of a three-man attack without dedicated wingers came as a result of a lack of depth in the position. Aside from the solid Kamil Grosicki, there is little quality with Jakub Blaszczykowski only returning from injury before the end of April.

With that said, it appears Poland’s success will rest in the shooting boots of Lewandowski, but Arkadiusz Milik could be one to watch out for as well. Following success at Euro 2016 in reaching the quarter-finals, Nawalka’s side will no doubt have high hopes of a similar finish once again.

Progression from the group is the minimum requirement expected of them, and reaching another quarter-final would likely be the target Poland are aiming for.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus).

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL), Kamil Glik (Monaco), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw).

Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (Wolfsburg), Jacek Goralski (Ludogorets Razgrad), Kamil Grosicki (Hull), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Brom), Rafal Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze), Karol Linetty (Sampdoria), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli).

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (RSC Anderlecht).

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