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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Football: Poles get ready for Euro 2020 despite coronavirus fears

05.03.2020 00:05
Barring coronavirus disruption, in exactly 100 days, Poland’s national football squad will be looking to make its mark at the Euro 2020 tournament after a disappointing 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Polish team last year celebrated advancing to the European championships for the fourth time after a successful qualifying campaign.
The Polish team last year celebrated advancing to the European championships for the fourth time after a successful qualifying campaign.Image: laczynaspilka.pl

The championships, held by the European football governing body UEFA, are expected to go ahead as planned despite concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Europe, officials have said.

UEFA head Aleksander Ceferin was this week cited as saying he remained optimistic despite the coronavirus outbreak in many countries in Europe and did not want to consider “dark scenarios” such as relocating Euro 2020 matches or canceling the tournament at this stage.

The Polish team last year celebrated advancing to the European championships for the fourth time after a successful qualifying campaign.

The Poles, managed by Jerzy Brzęczek, in November defeated Slovenia 3-2 in their last Euro 2020 qualifier, having already secured a spot in this year’s tournament.

Poland finished top of their qualifying Group G on 25 points, six more than Austria, who also booked a berth in the tournament.

The Poles are slated to play Spain and Sweden in the group stage of the tournament, following a draw in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of November.

Their group E will be completed by the team that will emerge victorious from play-offs this month between Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia. 

The 24-team Euro 2020 tournament is due to be held from June 12 to July 12, 2020 in 12 cities around Europe.

Poland in 2016 made it through to the quarterfinals of the European championships in France, losing to Portugal on penalties.

Friendlies to go ahead as scheduled: sports minister

The Polish team will play four friendly matches on home turf ahead of this year’s European championships.

Poland’s Sports Minister Danuta Dmowska-Andrzejuk said on Wednesday that the upcoming matches of the national football team would take place “in accordance with the agreed dates,” public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

She added that the first case of coronavirus infection confirmed in the country would not affect the schedule of friendlies due to be played by Jerzy Brzęczek's men.

Poland will play two friendlies at the end of this month and another two in June, according to an official schedule released by the Polish Football Association (PZPN).

Manager Jerzy Brzęczek’s men will take on Finland in the southwestern city of Wrocław on March 27, and then play Ukraine at a revamped Silesian Stadium in Chorzów, in the country’s south, on March 31.

Poland will also play a friendly with Russia at the National Stadium in Warsaw on June 2.

A week later, the Polish team will face off against Iceland in a fourth fixture on home turf in the western city of Poznań, PZPN officials said in December.

World No. 19

Poland are No. 19 in the world football rankings, a slide from the seventh spot they held at the start of last year.

The Polish team suffered an early exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Poland in 2017 climbed to No. 5 in the FIFA table, the best result for the Polish team since the world football governing body’s ranking was launched in 1992.

Poland's lowest place was 78th, in 2013.

(gs/pk)

Source: Polish Radio