Talking Points: Are Poland over-reliant on Robert Lewandowski?
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
Arguably, the tournament's strongest African team provided a performance to match that tag.
Senegal beat Poland 1-2 in their Group H fixture at the FIFA World Cup. Brazilian-born Polish defender Thiago Cionek scored an own-goal in the 37th minute to give a slender lead to Senegal. Then in the 60th minute, M'Baye Niang scored another to increase the Africans' lead. Meanwhile, in the 86th-minute midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak scored a consolation goal for the Poles.
In this article, we are going to talk about the five talking points observed during the Group H fixture.
5. Robert Lewandowski needs to replicate his Bundesliga performances
The Bayern Munich forward was absent for most of the game, except a few touches and a free-kick. The Polish captain is the best attacker for his country, and also has the best vision in terms of creativity.
Although, Poland also has Krychowiak, Jakub Blaszczykowski (injured during the match) and Kamil Grosicki – the former Borussia Dortmund striker is on a different level as a player. He will need to create chances for himself and even shift to a deeper role sometimes to involve his teammates.
4. Senegal need to improve technically to have a chance of progressing past the Round of 16
Although Senegal won, they were gifted victory by two haphazard goals. Though they had some chances, The Lions of Teranga lacked accuracy. Their passing seemed wayward for the most part of the 90 minutes.
Poland had 61% of the possession, the CAF nation had 39%.
3. Poland don't have a proper replacement for Jakub Blaszczykowski
The former Wisla Krakow winger might be considered past his prime, but his crosses and passing ability is crucial to the Polish team and to getting Lewandowski firing in the goals.
Currently plying his trade for Wolfsburg, the 32-year-old has good technical ability and can form a solid partnership on the right with Lukasz Piszczek. Poland don't have an adequate replacement for him. They have someone to step into their skipper's position, but not that of the winger.
2. Senegal need to use Sadio Mane's world-class talent
The former Southampton player is no doubt his side's main man. Although, his team won, Poland had more of the ball and the result was decided by two scrappy goals.
In the first half, most of his team's play was concentrated on the right. Meanwhile, he roamed around the other side. In the second half, he got to touch the ball at intervals and whenever he did, Senegal looked more confident in attack. On his day, Mane can rip apart any opposition.
1. Group H might have a crazy showdown
Before this group's fixtures had started, Colombia and Poland were probably the favorites to qualify for the Round of 16. But, now both teams have lost their opening games, with Senegal taking the top spot, followed by Japan.
Thus, the remaining Group H fixtures are must-win for all the teams to go into the knockout stages.
Published: Wed Jun 20, 2018 09:16 AM IST