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Football fever grips Poland as Euro 2024 kicks off

14.06.2024 08:00
Football fever has gripped Poland as the national team bids for success at the Euro 2024 tournament, which kicks off in Germany on Friday.
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski (centre) during a training session in Warsaw on June 6, 2024.
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski (centre) during a training session in Warsaw on June 6, 2024.Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

With the national squad already in its Euro 2024 training base in Hanover, fans are hoping the Poles will stay there as long as possible — long enough to make their mark in the tournament.

Euro 2024 opens on Friday with a match between the host nation and Scotland at Munich Football Arena.

The Poles start their group-stage campaign against the Netherlands in Hamburg on Sunday.

Manager Michał Probierz's men will next take on Austria in Berlin on June 21 and then play France in Dortmund on June 25.

Probierz told a news conference earlier this month that his team is aiming to advance to the knockout stages of Euro 2024 and "will do everything to make that happen."

FIFA’s No. 28

The Polish team last Friday picked up a confidence-boosting 3-1 win against Ukraine in a warm-up friendly game ahead of Euro 2024. It followed up with a 2-1 victory over Turkey in another friendly in Warsaw on June 10.

As Euro 2024 kicks off, Poland are at No. 28 in the latest ranking by the world football governing body FIFA.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands are in seventh place; Austria are ranked 25th; and France are at No. 2 in the FIFA table.

Poland with 18th-best chance to win Euro 2024: study

According to a supercomputer prediction from data analysts Opta, England are in the best position to win Euro 2024, while Poland are the 18th-most likely winner.

The Netherlands are ranked sixth in the study, 12 notches above Poland. Austria, meanwhile, are seen as the 12th-most likely winner, and France are ranked second.

Probierz’s squad marred by injuries

The Poland boss on June 7 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 Empoli defender Bartosz Bereszyński.

However, Lewandowski, Poland's all-time top scorer, will miss his team's first Euro 2024 group-stage game against the Netherlands due to a muscle injury, the team doctor has said.

The 35-year-old Barcelona striker, who has scored 82 goals in 150 appearances for Poland, picked up the injury during Poland's 2-1 win over Ukraine in a pre-tournament warm-up match in Warsaw on June 10.

Another Poland striker, Arkadiusz Milik, will miss Euro 2024 altogether after suffering a serious knee injury in the same match.

Two other Poland players, striker Karol Świderski and defender Paweł Dawidowicz, are also nursing injuries, according to team officials.

Teams from 24 nations will play a total of 64 matches in 10 cities in Germany during the European championships, which begin on Friday and run until July 14.

The final will be held at Berlin's Olympiastadion.

Poland qualified for Euro 2024 after defeating Wales 5-4 on penalties in a playoff in Cardiff in March.

Poland failed to get past the group stage at the postponed Euro 2020 tournament, where they suffered a defeat to Slovakia before drawing with Spain and losing the decisive game against Sweden.

The Polish team made it through to the quarterfinals of the Euro 2016 championships in France, losing to Portugal on penalties.

Poland reached the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar before being eliminated by eventual runners-up France.


Source: TVP, IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.pl, bbc.com

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Marcin Matuszewski.