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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Poland team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Poland ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group A):

  • v Ecuador - 9 June, 2000 BST, Gelsenkirchen
  • v Germany - 14 June, 2000 BST, Dortmund
  • v Costa Rica - 20 June, 1500 BST, Hanover

    How did they get to Germany: Led the way for much of the qualification before being overtaken late on by England, but made it as one of the best second-placed sides.

    Qualifying star: Tomasz Frankowski's goals made him a favourite of the Polish fans, his nickname is "The Goals Hunter", but despite his efforts in qualifying he failed to earn a place in the 23-man World Cup squad.

    Manager: Pawel Janas. A very popular man who keeps himself to himself - very different from predecessor Jerzy Engel.

    Jacek Bak
    Captain: Experienced defender Jacek Bak, who currently plies his trade in Qatar with Al-Rayyan, is a leading contender for the honour having won a squad berth.

    World Cup pedigree: Up and down. Poland have twice finished third in World Cup finals (1974 and 1982), but this is only the second time since 1986 they have qualified.

    World Cup high: Beat Argentina, Italy, Sweden and Yugoslavia in 1974 and then edged out Brazil to claim third place.

    World Cup low: The last one. Coach Engel had talked up their chances in 2002 but they were beaten by South Korea and embarrassed by Portugal. Showed their potential in beating the USA but they were already eliminated.

    World Cup legend: Grzegorz Lato played 95 times for his country, scored 42 goals - seven of them coming at the 1974 finals where he finished as top scorer.

    Maciej Zurawski
    Present star man: Striker Maciej Zurawski has scored 16 goals to help Celtic capture the Scottish title and Poland will be hoping he can fire them to glory too.

    Strengths: Despite the absence of star names in the team they don't lack for goals. Only three European teams scored more than them in qualifying.

    Weaknesses: Unfortunately at the other end they are not so hot and have developed a habit of conceding sloppy goals.

    Did you know? Poland's Ernst Willimowski scored four goals against Brazil in 1938 and still finished on the losing side (Brazil won 6-5).

    World ranking: 29

    Odds: 100/1

    Local view: "Janas says our aim is to qualify from the group and make the last 16. If we do it we will have made progress, if not it will be disaster again. There are no stars in the team but the coach gets the best out of them. Nobody knows how, but he does." Robert Blonski, Gazeta Wyborcza.

    Our verdict: No pushovers. A favourable draws mean the second round is a distinct possibility, but they are unlikely to feature in the latter stages of the competition.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Poland XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Poland
    15 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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