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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Gloom descends on Polish press
Romania's Gheorghe Popescu (l) tussles with Pawel Kryszalowicz
Romania's Gheorghe Popescu (l) tussles with Pawel Kryszalowicz

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Gloom descended on the Polish media in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to Romania on Wednesday night.

"The nearer the World Cup, the worse it gets," said the most popular Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, beneath a headline that read "Hopeless".

Open Quote
There's 40 days to the final and we don't have a team
Close Quote
Rzeczpospolita

It continued: "Losing to Japan 2-0 in Warsaw might have been an accident but, after what happened yesterday against Romanian reserves, there are serious reasons for profound concern."

The Polish media stress the lack of pace, imagination and concentration on the part of the Polish team.

Sport daily Przeglad Sportowy observes that many Polish players are out of form and struggling to keep their places in the first teams at the foreign clubs they play for.

The prestigeous Rzeczpospolita adds: "40 days to the finals, and we don't have a team.

"Not everything could be explained by injuries [to Emmanuel Olisadebe and Jacek Bak in particular] and the experiment with three at the back".

Poland coach Jerzy Engel's decision to tamper with the usual 4-4-2 formation is generally criticised.

The players were clearly unable to adapt technically and tactically to the change.

But there is more criticism of "the wrong attitude" of the Polish players, rather than the coach's tactics.

Open Quote
Poland have a goalkeeper but they don't have a team
Close Quote
Jan Tomaszewski,

Malicious and brutal fouls by Tomasz Hajto, Arkadiusz Bak, Marek Kozminski and Jacek Zielinski are all condemned.

"Such behaviour in Poland's first game at the World Cup finals against the hosts South Korea would be definitely punished with red cards.".

Jan Tomaszewski, the legendary Polish goalkeeper of the 70s was commentating for Polish TV and comes in for most ridicule.

Just after the game, Tomaszewski suggested the Poles played badly on purpose, because the game was observed by South Korean, American and Portuguese "spies".

One papers notes: "Tomaszewski is wrong.

"Foreign spies have discovered the main secret of the Polish team and their coach: Poland qualified for the World Cup finals thanks to tremendous good luck and will be there by mistake."

Tomaszewski was, however, right about one thing. During commentary, the former goalkeeper observed the difference between Jerzy Dudek, the Polish goalkeeper and the rest of the squad.

"Poland have a goalkeeper, but they do not have a team," he said.

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GROUP D
  P GD PTS
SOUTH KOREA 3 +3 7
USA 3 -1 4
PORTUGAL 3 +2 3
POLAND 3 -4 3

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