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Football: Poland set to enter World Cup fray

22.11.2022 06:30
Poland’s national football team is set to take on Mexico on Tuesday in its first game at the World Cup in Qatar.
Poland players, led by captain Robert Lewandowski (right), in training ahead of their World Cup opener in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 21, 2022.
Poland players, led by captain Robert Lewandowski (right), in training ahead of their World Cup opener in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 21, 2022.Photo: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

The match kicks off at 5 p.m. Polish time at Stadium 974 in Doha.

Poland’s last World Cup appearance was in Russia in 2018, when they did not get past the group stage.

In addition to Mexico, Poland will face off against Saudi Arabia and Argentina in the group stage of the tournament in Qatar.

Manager Czesław Michniewicz's men are scheduled to take on Saudi Arabia at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan near Doha on November 26, and play Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha four days later.

At a pre-match news conference on Monday, Michniewicz said his team’s Group C fixture against Mexico could prove to be crucial to Poland’s success in the tournament.

He also said that the Poles "stand a good chance of progressing past the group stage" at the World Cup in Qatar.

"Looking at the players, I think we have a good mix of experience and youth," Michniewicz added.

Teams from 32 nations will play a total of 64 matches at eight stadiums in Qatar during this year's World Cup, which kicked off on Sunday and runs until December 18.

The Polish team last Wednesday picked up a confidence-boosting 1-0 win against Chile in a warm-up friendly game ahead of the World Cup.

FIFA’s No. 26

With their 2022 World Cup opening game only hours away, Poland are at No. 26 in the latest ranking by the world football governing body FIFA.

Brazil are at the top of the FIFA rankings, followed by Belgium, who finished third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Argentina are in third place in the latest FIFA ranking, ahead of world champions France in fourth spot.

Mexico are 13th, and Saudi Arabia rank No. 51.

Poland with 16th-best chance to win World Cup: study

According to a study by experts at London's Alan Turing Institute, Brazil are in the best position to win the World Cup in Qatar, while Poland are the 16th-most likely winner.

Argentina are ranked third in the study, 13 notches above Poland. Mexico, meanwhile, are seen as the 17th-most likely winner, and Saudi Arabia are ranked 29th.

Michniewicz’s men led by Lewandowski

Poland manager Czesław Michniewicz on November 10 named his final 26-man lineup for the tournament.

The squad is led by Barcelona star striker Robert Lewandowski and includes other regulars such as Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, Napoli midfielder Piotr Zieliński, and Juventus forward Arkadiusz Milik.

Poland players during a training session in Doha, Qatar, November 19, 2022. Poland players during a training session in Doha, Qatar, November 19, 2022. Photo: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Lewandowski, Poland's all-time top scorer, bagged nine goals in his team’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 34-year-old Barcelona striker has scored 76 goals in 134 appearances for Poland.

He will be looking to net his first career World Cup goal in Qatar after failing to score at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Meanwhile, Polish football fans heading for the World Cup in Qatar have been warned of strict alcohol regulations in that country.

Up to 60,000 fans are expected to support the Polish team at the tournament in Qatar, according to news reports.

Poland qualified for the 2022 World Cup after defeating Sweden 2-0 in a playoff at home in late March.

The Polish team failed to advance to the knockout phase of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after losing 1-2 to Senegal and 0-3 to Colombia in the group stage. Poland won their final game, beating Japan 1-0, but finished bottom of their Group H and made an early exit from the tournament more than four years ago.

Poland finished third in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany and were also third in Spain in 1982.


Source: TVP, IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.pl, dailymail.co.uk