Poland crashed out of the World Cup following a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Colombia on Sunday in Kazan.
Both sides, who had lost their opening group matches, knew that a defeat would send them on an early flight home following Senegal’s draw with Japan earlier on in the day.
#1 Worst team at the tournament?
Pound for pound, Poland might just be the worst team at the 2018 World Cup. Yes, Saudi Arabia have looked abject, debutants Panama have played like minnows, but considering the players Poland have at their disposal they could just about claim that unwanted title. From back to front, Adam Nawalka’s side have failed to show any attacking threat or defensive solidity. As a result, they will deservedly be making an early trip home.
#2 Lewandowski no-show
One of the biggest disappointments in Russia has been the performance of Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski. The Poland captain, who is playing in his first World Cup, failed to show the qualities he displayed during his sides road to Moscow. Lewandowski scored 16 goals for his country during the qualifying stages, but he looked the shadow of himself at this tournament. Perhaps, supporters may point towards the lack of creativity around the 29-year-old, but he still failed to drag his team out of tough situations. Big-name players have the capabilities of producing absolute magic regardless of what their teammate’s produce and, unfortunately for Lewandowski, he couldn’t turn it on at any point.
#3 Tactical change backfires
During the defeat against Senegal, Nawalka played four at the back which resulted in his team conceding two sloppy goals. This time around, he opted to play a back three, but that didn’t stop the likes of James Rodriguez, Quintero and Juan Cuadrado running rings around them. Just like Senegal, the Colombian’s were able to open Poland up with ease and, as soon as they went a goal down, Nawalka’s side had no response. The back three looked clueless without their injured leader Kamil Glik, whilst the experienced midfield failed to keep hold of the ball, protect the defence or create any opportunities for their forward line.
#4 Freshness needed
By the time the next World Cup comes about quite a lot of the current Poland squad will be on the other side of 30. The likes of Michal Pazdan, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Kamil Grosicki and Lukasz Piszczek, to name a few, might not put on their countries shirt again. Not forgetting, two of their key players in Lewandowski and Glik will be past their best. Therefore, Poland needs to add fresh new faces to their squad when they begin their road to Euro 2020 later on this year. Even though he disappointed, more emphasis needs to be put on highly-rated Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik as well as bringing in new talent to replace the current ageing crop.
#5 Playing for pride
Poland’s final game at this year’s World Cup will be against current Group H table-toppers Japan on Thursday. This is a big opportunity for some of the players to install some pride back into the side. An unexpected win against the Japanese would lift the gloom around the Polish camp, but it still won’t prevent the players and staff from receiving absolute palters from their own media when they arrive home later on this week.