Why each match can’t take 93 minutes?

I think you know this feeling very well. The last minutes of the football (soccer if you want to call it this way) match. All eyes are concentrated not on players but on a fourth referee who any second will rise up his electronic table and show how much of the injury time yet to be played.

That’s a strange and unnecessary celebration. Why unnecessary? I hope you were watching the recent European Championships in France. 51 more or less interesting matches. In 24 of them, the referees added 3 minutes of injury time after the last minute of the regular time. Only in 6 matches, the referees added less time, and in three of those winners were leading by a significant margin.

I’ll briefly explain how it works. The idea was to add more time because of any stoppage during a match. The reality shows it went totally different way. According to guidelines, the referees have for every substitution made during the match, and not during the half break, they should add 30 seconds. Normally there are 6 substitutions during a match so 3 added minutes should be almost granted due to only one reason. But there are other situations when on the field there is nothing of football and much of a theater or a hospital or even boxing. What with that example of time wasting if in 59% of matches a referee adds no more than obvious 3 min?

Normally a referee will add something extra over 3 minutes when something obvious will happen but if a goalkeeper would time waiting throughout whole second part nothing will be added. Of course, referees have their explanation that there were 3 minutes added and that lost time was included in them. But it could be so if there was all six substitution during the second half.

From my point of view adding time according to the existing rules is silly and pointless. If adding a time for any substitution is a rule, why shouldn’t we add it at hoc? Just say that a regular time for a football match it is 93 minutes. The injury time will be adding to this 93 minutes. Simple. The other way is to leave the almost eternal 90 minutes as everybody knows that the substitutions are parts of the game, but each exchange should take no more than 30 seconds. If more, the exchanging team plays in ten men and the entering player will be waiting until the next pause.

Would it be better for football? I don’t know but at least no one will be making fools of supporters paying for tickets of TV access quite large sums.

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Are stadium bans the only way?

It’s less than 400 day to the opening of Euro 2012 and I don’t know what would happen during that competition. Why? The main task right now for us it’s not how to build stadiums, cause they are almost ready, or how to build new highways, cause they won’t be ready, but what to do with hooligans on and off stadiums.
May have started with a clash between Lech Poznań and Legia Warsaw in Polish Cup final. Just after the game fans of both teams started a regular battle destroying facilities of hundreds thousands zloty. Moreover, whole country saw it in TV. The reaction was cruel. The authorities have closed stadiums for fans in Poznań and Warsaw. One week later the same tool had been used in Wrocław and Łódź. This weekend we could expect empty crowds in Lubin.
You could ask if it really is so bad? Do we in Poland really need to close stadium in front of those whom we built them? Are the stadium bans the adequate tool in the battle for a safety on stands?
It’s very hard to give a simple answer for all that questions.
The main problem is that in Poland clubs are doing almost nothing to eliminate bandits from the stadiums. The word bandit is the correct one as I can’t use anything else if they are coming to a stadium not to see a good match but to hurt someone or to deal a crack or something similar. Just before the Polish Cup final the authorities of Lech Poznań have sent a letter to Polish Football Association (PZPN) asking if their fans with suspended by law access to stadiums could be present on this very match. A few weeks earlier one of fans of the same team hit and vituperated an innocent woman. When the case came to press it turned out that he was wanted by police and also the chief of the biggest group of Lech Poznań fans very much welcomed and appreciated by the club authorities.
Some time ago there was one president of Legia Warsaw who wanted to clean the stadium from hooligans. He declared war against them. Legia’s fans tried anything they could to show their dissatisfaction of that, but the president was adamant. The owners of the club weren’t and soon the president had been replaced. And that was almost like a scenario of a weak soup opera – every time someone in charge in Legia wanted to do something with hooligans, he ended on the street, and bandits were on top. The same happened just before this season. The owners were afraid that the stands on the new stadium will be empty, so they removed every restriction pointed out against “fans”. The stadium is full, money goes where should go, but the result of that policy we saw during a cup final.
No it’s my turn to ask. Should we accept that? Should we allow bandits to rule the stadiums just a year before the most important sporting event in Polish history? I know that group responsibility it’s not the best way to solve the problem, as not every fan is a bandit, but the problem is that our law don’t give more options to the local authorities. Moreover it looks like only economical arguments will push the clubs to stop supporting hooligans.
And, of we could believe police, the problem is very big, as the groups of hooligans have shared their spheres of influence during Euro 2012 and are preparing to take profits from drug dealing, prostitution and intimidations.
And what do fans think about it? Normal people on the street thinks that is OK, and the authorities are doing right. The groups that can influence on the fans environment claim that it is a substitute theme before national elections that in a few months time will be in Poland and plan to boycott the two forthcoming matches of national squad against Argentina and France.
We will see how the things will evolve in this matter, as “fans” are a big group of potential voters and could be used as a tool in hands of veteran politicians.
We have not finished with corruption and match fixing in Polish football and now we have another big problem that couldn’t be solved in a quick and easy way. I don’t want to tell you that our country is a big football bog but like almost in every part of “life after the Communism” things are set upside-down and needs a hard work to put it on the right tracks. Please, keep the fingers-crossed that we could do this on time.

Memorable farewells

I’m afraid that most of you don’t even know who Adam Małysz is as ski jumping is not the most popular sport in the world but for Poles he is a star – probably the best athlete ever in our country. Four times a World Cup winner, four times a World Champion, four times an Olympic Games medallist, 93 times on podium within a Wold Cup competitions. In his discipline known as a real professor. Młyszomania it was in Poland a great sociological effect of an enormous national psychosis about one person.

Why I write about him? Because last weekend he ended his long career and it means a lot for us. Sport in Poland wouldn’t be the same after that.

A few days later Michał Żewłakow ended his national career during a friendly game in Piraeus versus Greece. It was his match number 102 in Polish national team what is the absolute record. And? For only a few it was a memorable moment. Of course, there were many Polish fans in Piraeus thanking Michał on the stadium but in mass media there was written about that event only a tenth of what we could read about Małysz’s farewell.

Is shows that in Poland right now many football in a discipline number one, but without successes it’s value much lower than ski jumping or speedway. In every country people would like to see their boys or girls wining and getting medals or trophies. It looks like it ain’t going to happen on football pitches.

And one thing more. I don’t understand why we had to play against Lithuania on “Kaunas sands” as one day later Spaniards called the pitch in that city where Lithuanians received Poland and Spain continuously. I can understand that it was a trick to increase the chances of a home team in a qualification battle against reining champions of the World and Europe. But during a friendly game against Poland it wasn’t necessary to play on such a poor field where an attacking team is from the beginning on a worse position. We created far more occasion to score, but we have lost. It lowered much our morale, quite high after last matches, and increased tension in mass media. Everybody knew how bad was the pitch and in our interest it was to transfer that match to another stadium, maybe even in a Polish stadium as we have to play on very good pitches that will be on Euro 2012. I hope that mistake of our football authorities will not affect to much on our preparation to that competition.

A life after Lech

Lech Poznan is no longer playing in Europa League, neither Liverpool FC. Both teams were eliminated by a modest team from Portugal’s Braga. Sporting have ended our hopes for a big clash between Lech and the Reds. Now we’ve joined France with no teams in quarterfinals of European cups.

It doesn’t mean that till the next season there will be nothing to write about. Not at all. For example right now we have a strong discussion in media whether Maor Melikson should play for Poland. Who is Maor Melikson, you will as. It’s an Israeli born man from Polish mother who recently has joined Wisla Cracovia. He has both Polish and Israeli passport and could play for both countries.

The media presented Maor as a big star and the biggest signing in Polish league this winter. Some people would like to see him in white-red colours but our head coach says the there is no theme of Maor Melikson. Why? Because the player still says that most of all he would like to play for Israel and if not, than for Poland. “I want player who will die for Poland on the pitch” Franciszek Smuda says.

To be honest, it’s a pity, as I would like to see all the reactions of Poles when an Jew will play in our national team. I’m not saying that we are anti-Semitic but some people would have a chance to revise their tolerance.

Another recent theme it was a dispute between Polish Football Association and an operator (an institution who will administrate) of the National Stadium in Warsaw. The contribution was the match between Poland and Germany in September this year. It was planned as an opening game of the stadium, but the operator expected to high rent from FA. The football authorities decided that they will play that match on Legia’s stadium (also a new one) and the National will stand empty till Euro 2012.

After weeks of discussion both sides have made an agreement, but it shows the lacks in system. Lech Poznań also had recently some troubles with city authorities who owns a stadium in Poznań. In some point the club was determined to leave a stadium a started to build their own. After all not only Lech plays on Municipal Stadium but also Warta – a club playing a league lower. We’ll see how long.

And at the end one word about Ekstraklasa – Polish top league. This round, after a winter break, we have enormous number of foreigner in our clubs. An average is 9 for a club. An absolute record in history. Moreover, for this break for international matches 32 players from Ekstraklasa received call ups for international duties. This number doesn’t include Polish players. Most of the called-up are Lithuanians – seven players – and Lithuania will play… Poland this Friday.

It’s very hard to say if those numbers will bring something good into our league. Surely they are giving some refreshment but not all of them presents a class that will guarantee a rising of the league level. From the other hand you cannot expect that from now on in our league will play stars from last year’s Wold Cup like Forlan, Müller or Iker Casillas.

New year, new face

It was long time ago when was the last time when we met. Actually it was last year. For Polish football that’s a time of a winter hibernation. But right now we have started to play again. The signal for waking up came from national team. During last days our boys played twice and, what a surprise, they won twice. I was surprised as well, as twice their opponents were better. That’s a result what counts, so I won’t complain at all!

It was Sunday when we played against Moldova. They set the best men, maybe without one defender. In our side there were 4 newcomers and a few more with a minimal experience in the national squad. We have scored a goal fast, after a dismal effort from the Moldovan goalie, and after that were trying only to defend as the rivals showed their superiority. Fortunately nothing came from their superiority, as our defenders played a good game and showed a good anticipation of the opponents. Many times their forwards were caught in off-side traps. Poles had one or two very good chances to score another goal from the counter-attack, but without success. The final result was 1-0 and the scorer was Dawid Plizga – the rookie of the day!

Three days later our rivals were Norwegians. Strong side and a leaders in their qualification group. This time both sides played in their full strength. Almost, as players from Lech and Polonia weren’t participating in this concentration of the national team. It was our side that took an initiative and tried harder to create any goal-scoring chance. Just before a 20th minute of the match a long distance scorcher from Lewandowski have found the way to the Norwegian goal. After that our opponents have overtaken the initiative and tried to examine the strength of our defence. Usually that was our weakness but not this time. Even if they were much taller that our boys – Helgeland and Carew have more than 1,90 meter, and in our side there were only three lads over 1 meter and 80 – we came out on top of it.

I was little afraid that Wojciech Szczęsny after that memorable game between Arsenal and Newcastle last weekend will have some mental problems to hold his nerves and survive, but nothing like that has ever happened. I thing it was much easier as our defender didn’t let Norwegians to create many occasions, only a few corners and two powerful shots from Riise. 1-0 stayed till the final whistle and it was a third consecutive win after so many months of sorrow. I have to add that in the FIFA ranking list they are 60 positions above! Nothing like that were seen on the pitch in Portuguese Faro.

Mentioned Riise said after the match that Poland were the worst rival they’ve played recently. Whatever, they’ve lost, so they are weaker. Either Riise is stupid or he wanted that way say how bad team they have in Norway. Normally you apprise the rivals after a lost match to amend an own performance, but… That’s not my problem at all.

What I can say now after that matches and only few days before a first match in Europa League of Lech Poznań? First of all there is a big hope that something special could happen this year. Our players play important roles in foreign clubs, especially in Bundesliga, and Lewandowski with Matuszczyk have shown that on Wednesday. We have very interesting rivals this year, including our eternal rivals Germany, and that should help us to prepare a good team for the next year’s tournament. First signs of a real, strong team are already visible.

Our clubs have made interesting transfers during the winter window and that should make the league more entertaining. After beating Manchester City last year Lech wants to challenge another English side, this time Liverpool playing better and better under a Kenny Dalglish command. But first Lech needs to win with Sporting Braga from Portugal and after the winter signings we in Poland are looking forward to that matches with great optimism.

And I’m looking forward to see you soon on my blog.

Why couldn’t we play all matches in Poznań?

It’s quite unusual to make a resume of the year at the beginning of December when still there is a lot to play, but you’ll have to forgive me. Why? Because I have the every reason to do it now, and after at the end of this text you will give me a nod.

First, I have to admit that I was wrong. Last time I wrote that I doubt in our chances to win the match against Ivory Cost. As our national team weren’t able to even score a goal to any African side from 1980, so how could we talk about winning? Moreover, our biggest problems were efficiency in front of the goal, and weak defending against powerful strikers. I can find an excuse – that very moment I didn’t know that there would be no Drogba or Kalou in our opponents side, but that day we have not only scored a goal but won the game 3-1 being much superior during the second half.

After that day many said that Poland should play every matches in Poznań as it was Lech who had won there against Manchester City and now the same scoreline 3-1 was in the match against Ivory Cost. It was the first win of our national team from March!

Nevertheless we still have problems in defence. Especially in the centre. In our last match against Bosnia later in December there will be no surprising call-ups as there could play only players from our league, but the next year who knows what pair of the central defender we’ll have. Most bets are on Damien Perquis (a Frenchman with Polish origins willing strongly to play for Poland) and Manuel Arboleda (a boy from Colombia who lives in Poland from 5 years and now can apply for Polish citizenship – moreover he speaks Polish better than some of the players who are in squad right now). If we are talking about the second one it will depend on if he will stay in Lech for the next year as the rock defender won’t be interested in getting our nationality and playing for our side when he will live abroad.

Two goals against Ivory Cost has scored Robert Lewandowski. Three days later he’s scored an equalizing goal for the Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. This young fellow gains more and more confidence and I’m sure that doing this way he will be ready to become one of the stars of the Euro 2012. Of course from our trio in the Germany’s leaders side only Łukasz Piszczek is a first-squad player, but Lewanadowski as well as Błaszczykowski both play there important roles. All three of them will be our train to rush and crash rivals in the championships of our continent.

And now about what happened yesterday, again on the same stadium. This time it was a draw, but the winning draw. 1-1 against Juventus it was enough for Polish champions to qualify after 5 matchdays to the play-off phase in Europa League. The Italians weren’t able to win even a one match out of five in the group where they were favorites to qualify together with Manchester City. The Citizens have done their job, as well as Lech. Poles were better during the clash against Juve that have been played in conditions very unusual fir football match, rather for alpine skiing or sky jumping. Even under-soil heating wasn’t enough to prevent the pitch to became totally white of snow something about 35th minute. Till that moment Lech were leading by one goal to null. Almost till the end were in control of the events on the field as only Juve were able to make clear occasions from set-piece situations.

But it was one counterattack goal scored by Iaquinta 6 minutes before the end to make a thrilling ending. Finally 1-1 became the final result and for the second time in the history a Polish side have eliminated Juventus from a European competition. The first one was just before the transfer of Zbigniew Boniek to “Old Lady”, This ginger striker played that days in Widzew Łódź and it was the main constructor of that success in the year 1980. Widzew have won 3-1 in Poland and have lost 1-3 in Italy. In the penalty shoot-out our side were better, and soon Boniek became a star of Juve.

30 years later there was no such a drama but, despite it was a group phase match on Lech’s beautiful stadium, it still was a win-or-die match for both sides. As there was 4-4 in aggregate more goals scored away have promoted Lech Poznan to the next round, and last matches in the group won’t change anything.

And if I’ve mentioned about Boniek, the Juve fans are protesting against honouring him on the new stadium. It’s hard to find it as a reasonable attitude as I’m afraid that they will have to wait very long to see another player who will cap for “Old Lady” so many trophies as “Zibi” did. Well, we say in Poland “God’s grace rides on a patchy horse”.

A victory we waited for

I had a feeling that there will happen something spectacular to write about, and I was right. Just two days ago Polish champion, Lech Poznan, have won an Europa League match against almighty and all-rich Manchester City. Moreover, after that result Lech is a leader in the table of group A in front of “the Citizens”, “Juve” and Red Bull Salzburg.

It’s even biggest surprise if you consider that the yearly budget of Polish club is more that 100 times smaller than the budget of Manchester City. I could only add that Lech is now third from bottom in the Polish league. It’s to scary to think what would happen if it will be Jagiellonia Białystok or Korona Kielce playing against the British club.

Where is the foundation of the Lech’s victory? Normally you would say that it should be a coach, but a famous Bask, Jose Maria Bakero, is working with Lech only from Tuesday, and his impact in that result was very minimal. So maybe the previous one? Jacek Zielinski, ex-coach of Lech, had made a very good job, but if he is so good, why had been fired out? It’s really hard to explain why Lech have reached 7 points out of 12 in Europa League and 10 out of 30 in Polish Ekstrakalsa. Lech have scored 4 goals in final minutes in the group phase in EL but in Polish league usually they were unable to score in second halves. Interesting, isn’t it?

What’s clear and obvious is that Lech were better prepared to this very clash. In the second half they were ruling in the centre of the midfield and the Citizens were able only to attack by wings and that’s much less than you can expect from the team with Silva or Vieira on the pitch.

Another thing is that Roberto Mancini to early started to defend a draw. The entering of two “K” defenders: Kolarov and Kompany, had made no impact to the attacking style and was a clear signal to the rest that 1-1 is what satisfies the coach.

Third thing that I would like to point out is that I don’t remember when was the last time when Polish players have better stamina than players from English club. Usually the final minutes it was living on the edge (or rather dying on the edge) by our sides trying only to defend in own penalty areas. As it was in Torino the same it was this time, Lech were fighting hard till the very late, but successive, to score goals. In Italy they were trying to equalize and in Poznan they were trying to win. In both situations those aims were against all odds as the rivals on paper were much superior.

One of my colleagues after the draw of Europa League groups said something about Monte Cassino and a brave battle against football titans to show that Poles can loose with honour. In four weeks we will expect in Poland, when Juventus will come, not a Monte Cassino but a real Battle of Grunwald as a draw will guarantee for Lech a qualification for the next stage (as I don’t expect that Salzburg would win on the City of Manchester Stadium).

On 17th of November Poland will play against Ivory Coast on the same stadium in Poznan. Would the victory of Lech be a sign for our national team to win the first match from winter? I don’t think so, but more about this later this month.

A month marked by draws

Many things happened from my last post. Most of them were… draws. Unfortunately that’s all we can say bout our football right now.

First draw

It was the second leg of the tie between Lech and Dnipr Dnepropetrovsk. After one goal win away Polish club needed a drew and achieve it. Ukrainians were slightly better but what counts it’s a final result and it was goalless. After so many complains directed to Polish football even so small step further had been taken as big success.

Second draw

Two weeks later there was another draw also against Ukrainians but this time it was a clash between two host nations of the next European Championships. It’s hard to say that we were better team but we have created more clear occasions to score and the result 1:0 that during long time had appeared on a scoreboard was a deserved result. But during injury time a striker from Dnipr scored an equalizing goal. Seleznov was criticized after matches against Lech and that revenge was vital for him and sad for us.

I wouldn’t say that this match was a total washout for Poland as there were some signs of a better disposition. One of the best at the pitch it was Boenisch who before was a big hope for us and he presented himself as a very good sideback and from big hope he became a big asset. Three days later against Aussies he was a real star, but despite a crushing superiority we’ve lost that match 1:2. We need more efficiency from players like Jelen, Smolarek or Lewandowski who scored an only goals but he also missed a penalty.

Third draw

After a group draw nobody in Poland believed that Lech have any chance to pass a group phase of UEFA Europa League. Juventus, Manchester City and Salzburg are the rivals. Already a first match have reasonably changed that belief. Lech needed just little more than 20 minutes to score two goals playing in Turin against famous Juve. Italians have shown a great self-believe and 20 minutes before the end they were leading the scoreline.

What was a major surprise even for Polish fans it was that from that moment Lech have overtaken an initiative and stated to do closing Juve down on their half playing with three strikers together on the pitch. The result have came in the second minute of the injury time. Totally unknown Artioms Rudnevs scored a hat-trick in Turin and modest Polish team stopped Juventus in the very first group match.

Would it be a beginning of better times for Polish football? It’s hard to say but it has to be said that it was the first time when any Polish club has avoid a loose in Turin. It means something, especially after previous humiliating moments in our football.

Not a happy ending

The ending is not so optimistic. Poland is on 66th position in the FIFA ranking. Another six and it will be a Satan sign in the Catholic country. Fortunately this rank ends on something about 200 place.

A blow of optimism

Just recently I wrote about smouldering chances for a better future of Polish football. What happened last week was a surprised confirmation of that chances.

First, on Thursday, Lech Poznan have won a match against all odds. Rivals, Dnipr Dnepropetrovsk, were leaders of the Ukraine league, and Lech had to play without six players from best “11” – Bosacki, Wojtkowiak, Gancarczyk, Wichniarek, Peszko and Rudnevs – all ex all actual national players. Remembering weak form of Lech shown in recent matches, mostly with a cup ones against Sparta Prague no one expected anything of them. Of course some of players was telling that that’s the best moment to break through, but I don’t know if anyone treated seriously.

And it took only 5 minutes for Lech to score a goal. Manuel Arboleda, Colombian defender, was the one who scored that goal. It was what all the team needed as a bonus or something like this. The final result it was 0-1 with a second match at home this Thursday. Especially impressive were Tomasz Bandrowski who become a really playmaker of the team, and Marcin Kikut who played almost everywhere on the right side.

Just three days later Lech won a league game 5-0. It meant that they’ve scored in that one match more goals than in least five matches in European competitions, two in a Polish league and one in Polish supercup where they’ve scored in total 3 times. The problem is that only one of those 5 goals scored against Cracovia had been scored by a player, Wilk, who will play on Thursday against Dnipr.

But we should come back to Friday. Do you remember like I doubted if anyone would like to play in white-red colours? On Friday one of the most talented German players, Sebastian Bönisch, declared that he will represent Poland and not Germany and Franciszek Smuda has called him up to our national squad. As for the first time from a serious injury during a match against Serbia Smuda can count on Łukasz Piszczek from Borussia Dortmund, there will be a chance that during next two matches Poland will have both sides of the defence occupied by players whom nation would like to see in the line-up during first match on Euro 2012.

Yesterday Franciszek Smuda called up another interesting player, Euzebiusz Smolarek. He regains his form from the past in Polonia Warsaw and even if he is yet to play his best he can be a asset for the Poland squad remembering our actual disposition.

And by the way, Poland will play against Ukraine and Australia during next two September’s match-days.

A Szczecin’s fortress has fallen down

My last post was about a fall of the Polish clubs. Today I’ll write about a fall of Polish national team.

Just before the World Cup we’ve lost to Spain by six goals margin and we thought that night that nothing worse can happen. But last Wednesday we lost at home to Cameroon by three goals. Moreover it happened in Szczecin were Poles have lost never before. It hurts. It hurts even more as we are yet to score from almost 400 minutes. Why? Is our team so weak? Would we play better on time?

It’s very hard to answer correctly on all those questions. After a lecture of polish newspapers it would be extremely difficult to fine out anything optimistic, but I’m not so sure if it’s a realistic diagnosis. Of course, if you have so weak clubs it’s hard to expect very good national squad without at lease a few high class players, but nowadays it’s very hard to build quickly a new team out of nothing. And that’s what our head couch Franciszek Smuda is trying to do.

After a very dismal results in World Cup qualifications, where we were better than San Marino only, we had to face the truth that there is no chance to build achieve something more from those lads on Euro Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

As a home team don’t need to to play on qualification we have now 2 years time for building something new. Mr. Smuda is trying to make the squad younger. The squad is based on players just over 20 like Lewandowski, Mierzejewski, Sadlok, Glik, Rybus. The fourth of them, central defender Glik, remembers an episode in Real Madrid C, but all the rest spend all their career in Poland, that would not guarantee them a good further development as football players. The striker, Lewandowski, will start to play this season in Dortmund, and after the preparation period it looks like he could play there a major role this season. Mentioned Glik has changed his relegated Piast Gliwice for Italian Palermo, but he will have to work really hard to get a place in the first “11” in the defence of a club from Serie A. The rest three will have to play in Polish weak league were very soon they will learn all they could learn here. It worries but we hope that Lewandowski’s possible big impact on Bundesliga could allow other talented players from Poland to play in better leagues and learn more.

Just a few years ago many people in Europe were impressed by Polish goalkeepers. And now? Dudek sits on a bench in Real, Boruc in Fiorentina, Kuszczak in Manchester, Fabiański and Szczęsny in Arsenal. Only Tytoń plays regularly but at this moment I doubt if he has the potential to become a number one in Polish goal in two years time. From the other hand if any of them, maybe except Jerzy Dudek, will start to play regularly in any club he would give as guarantees like a high class goalie could give.

During three matches before the World Cup there was no Ludovic Obraniak in Polish squad. He’s played against Cameroon but has been far from his normal disposition. Anyway he still can give our team some values we never receive from any player with Polish League bases. So we expect the same from Damien Perquis who declares willingness to play in our national team. Hopefully it comes quickly obtaining all the necessary papers that he could be a Polish citizen. Also Euzebiusz Smolarek is a player who has grown outside Poland and now he came to his fathers country to regain his form that some years ago allowed him to become a second best European scorer in qualifications. In his top form he also will be a very valuable member of our squad.

Despite all those signs why we in Poland are so pessimistic about the future of our national squad? First, we don’t have a leader like for example Samuel Eto’o in Cameroonian squad. Second, we don’t have even one solid defender and everybody knows that building a hose you have to start from a foundation and building a football team you have to start from a defence line. Third, as our coach expects the team to play with high pressing the players learn it very hard and without major effects at this moment, and it’s difficult to say why and who is guilty.

We have scheduled this year matches with high and fair class rivals. We will see if there will be some signs of growing form of our national team. Till that very moment it’s unfair to pass any judgments about our chances during the Euro Championships.