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HOW THEY QUALIFIED


As one of the two host nations, Poland automatically qualified for Euro 2012.




 RECENT RESULTS TOP SCORERS IN 2011
Mar 25, 2011: Lithuania 2-0 Poland
Mar 29, 2011: Greece 0-0 Poland
Jun 5, 2011: Poland 2-1 Argentina
Jun 9, 2011: Poland 0-1 France
Aug 10, 2011 Poland 1-0 Georgia
Sep 2, 2011 Poland 1-1 Mexico
Sep 6, 2011 Poland 2-2 Germany
Oct 7, 2011 South Korea 2-2 Poland
Oct 11, 2011 Belarus 0-2 Poland
Nov 11, 2011 Poland 0-2 Italy
Nov 15, 2011 Poland 2-1 Hungary
4 - Jakub Blaszczykowski
3 - Robert Lewandowski, Pawel Brozek
1 - Adrian Mierzejewski, Vilmos Vanczak


Preparation for Euro 2012 has been a mixed bag for Poland, who have played in several stadia across the country ahead of the tournament next summer.

Franciszek Smuda's side have only lost two of their last 10 games, to reputable opponents Italy and France, both of whom fielded strong sides.

Poland also managed to shock Argentina and would have secured a victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites Germany had it not been for a stoppage time Cacau strike.

There have been some blots on Poland's copybook though, the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Lithuania sticking out as a low point in an otherwise decent run of results.

PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS 

1960
Did not qualify
1988
Did not qualify
1964
Did not qualify
1992
Did not qualify
1968
Did not qualify
1996
Did not qualify
1972
Did not qualify
2000
Did not qualify
1976
Did not qualify 2004
Did not qualify
1980
Did not qualify 2008
Group stage
1984
Did not qualify 2012
Qualified as host nation

Despite competing in six World Cups, Poland have only once before qualified for the European Championships.

This year's co-hosts failed to go beyond the group stages at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, despite topping their group in qualifying.

The Poles failed to win any of their three Group B games, suffering defeats to Germany and Croatia, and drawing with Austria, meaning they finished bottom on goal difference with one of the worst records in the tournament.

As one of the hosts of Euro 2012, Poland will perhaps fancy their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages, a feat which both Austria and Switzerland failed to achieve four years ago.

THE MANAGER | FRANCISZEK SMUDA


A former defender who spent the majority of his career playing in Poland and the USA, Smuda replaced Leo Beenhakker in October 2009 after the Dutchman failed to guide the team into the 2010 World Cup.

Smuda has a wealth of managerial experience, having coached in Germany and Turkey before returning to his homeland with Widzew Lodz.

The club won back to back league championships under Smuda, who would secure a further title with Wisla Krakow in 1999.

The 63-year-old won the Polish Cup with Lech Poznan and joined Zaglebie Lubin in August 2009, only to become national team coach just weeks later.

THE CAPTAIN | JAKUB BLASZCZYKOWSKI


Part of the Bundesliga-winning Borussia Dortmund side last season, Blaszczykowski has made well over 100 appearances for the club since joining them in 2007.

Now approaching 50 caps for his country, Blaszczykowski was given the captain's armband a year ago by Smuda and was named the Polish Footballer of the Year for 2010, having previously been handed the same honour in 2008.

A hamstring injury ruled the midfielder out of Euro 2008, so the winger will surely be desperate to make an impact at the tournament in his home country.

THE STAR PLAYER | ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI


A team-mate of Blaszczykowski's at Dortmund, Lewandowski scored eight times for last season's Bundesliga champions and has already matched that achievement in the 2011-12 campaign.

At 23, the striker is one of the youngest players in contention for the Euro 2012 squad, but already has 40 caps and 13 goals for his country and is likely to become one of Poland's all-time top scorers in the near future.

If Lewandowski can carry his good form with Dortmund into the new year and beyond, Poland will have some real firepower at their disposal over the summer.

THE EMERGING TALENT | WOJCIECH SZCZESNY


Having leapfrogged compatriot Lukasz Fabianski for the No.1 shirt at Arsenal, Szczesny now looks set to start between the sticks at Euro 2012.

Szczesny was the youngest player to feature in the squad for the November friendlies against Italy and Hungary, and the goalkeeper will be just 22 years old by the time the tournament kicks off.

Being his country's first-choice shot stopper at the young age of 22 stands Szczesny in good stead to become one of the leading talents in his position for several years to come as goalkeepers are largely considered to have reached their peak as they approach their 30s.



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FR Germany - Poland 14/05/14 12:15 AM IST
FR Poland - Lithuania 06/06/14 5:30 AM IST
  
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