Poland opened their campaign with a match against Slovenia and San Marino both games bring some success to the Poles.
Poland vs Slovenia
The first game began with the stronger nation Poland attacking early but Slovenia hitting the back of the net in the 17th minute after a penalty was awarded. Michal Zewlakow was the Slovenian that put the ball in the back of the net. The Poles were determined to win this one and equalised in the 35th minute when Zlatko Dedic put in a cross from Milivoje Novakovic about 10 meters out. They could not find anymore goals in the match neither could Slovenia the match ended 1-1.
The Poles were disappoined with the result with the coach having this to say:
“We are disappointed at the result and with the standard of our game especially in the second half,” Poland coach Leo Beenhakker said. “Slovenia surprised us.”
It was Poland’s first important game since the failed Euro campaign and they probably thought Slovenia weren’t going to put up much of a fight they got it all wrong. It is early in the group and every team has a chance to progress the weaker nations are really going to push to get results while they still have a chance Poland may have gone in with the wrong midset.
Poland Line Up:
Łukasz Fabiański – 13. Marcin Wasilewski, 5. Bartosz Bosacki (null, 2. Mariusz Jop), 14. Michał Żewłakow, 15. Marcin Kowalczyk – 19. Rafał Murawski (null, 20. Tomasz Bandrowski), 18. Mariusz Lewandowski, 8. Jacek Krzynówek, 6. Roger (null, 10. Marek Saganowski), 16. Jakub Błaszczykowski – 23. Łukasz Piszczek.
San Marino vs Poland
Match two brought Poland up against the extremely weak San Marino(nullth rank in the world) in a game that was expected to gift Poland 3 points and lift the team spirits after Euro and the disappointment of the first game. Once again this was not instantly the case in the 3rd minute San Marino were given a penalty luckly the Arsenal goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański was able to save. The match was quite dull from both teams with no one knowing who was the amateur team with Poland just gifting the ball away in dangerous areas and providing very little attack. This horrible display didn’t stop Poland from scoring in the 36th minute Ebi Smolarek pounced on the keepers parry to poke home a goal from 6 yards.
The 2nd half was a better display by the Poles but the horrible turnovers continued it didn’t matter they managed to score in the 67th minute to get a two goal buffer.
The final score was 2-0 but some questions have to be raised of the Poles they were horrible if it weren’t for a Man of the Match performance by Łukasz Fabiański who saved a penalty and other chances in the first half the Poles could have been 2-0 down and in real trouble.
They may have scrapped out of this one but matches against the Czech Republic and Slovakia are going to be tougher than the last two matches with form looking horrible in wouldn’t surprise me to see a 3-0 win to the Czech’s and a tough battle with Slovakia. Leo Beenhakker needs to lift his team otherwise they will be in Series trouble.
Poland Line Up:
Łukasz Fabiański – Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Michał Żewłakow, Mariusz Jop, Marcin Kowalczyk (null, Jacek Krzynówek) – Jakub Błaszczykowski, Mariusz Lewandowski, Roger Guerreiro – Łukasz Piszczek (null, Rafał Murawski) – Euzebiusz Smolarek, Marek Saganowski (null, Robert Lewandowski).
Group 3 Ladder
1 Poland 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4
2 Slovenia 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 4
3 Slovakia 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
4 Czech Republic 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
5 Northern Ireland 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
6 San Marino 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
The ladder currently sees Poland on top but they have played two of the weaker teams in the group the challenges will be agains the likes of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Northern Ireland to see if the Poles can make the World Cup.