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Football: Lewandowski to remain first-choice penalty taker for Poland

25.11.2022 21:00
Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski will continue to take penalty kicks for the national team despite missing in their World Cup opener, coach Czesław Michniewicz has said.
Polands Robert Lewandowski (right) and Mexicos goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (left) after their teams goalless draw in Qatar on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.
Poland's Robert Lewandowski (right) and Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (left) after their teams' goalless draw in Qatar on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.Photo: PAP/EPA/Noushad Thekkayil

“Nothing has changed, Robert is still designated as the first player to perform penalty kicks," Michniewicz told a news briefing ahead of Saturday's game with Saudi Arabia at the World Cup in Qatar, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

"Of course, if there is such a chance, he will make the decision whether he will shoot or give the spot kick away to someone else," Michniewicz said on Friday.

“It's all up to him. He feels ready to score for Poland. He is primed to break his tournament duck,” Michniewicz added, as quoted by PAP.

The Barcelona predator looked set to score his first World Cup goal when he earned his side a penalty during Poland’s opener against Mexico on Tuesday. However, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa guessed the right way and kept out Lewandowski’s spot-kick to ensure that the game finished goalless.

Victory for either side would have been a significant step towards the knockout stage in a group that was blown wide open by Saudi Arabia’s shock victory over Argentina earlier that day.

Speaking about the team's upcoming match against Saudi Arabia, Michniewicz said Poland would not change tactics only because the opening game did not entirely go their way, PAP reported.

"We have clear heads because we have closed this subject," Michniewicz said. "We don't succumb to pressure."

He declined to reveal the starting lineup for the Saudi Arabia game.

The Poland coach was widely criticised at home for running a defensive lineup against Mexico, which, according to most commentators, was the main reason for the match ending in a draw.