The Poland national football team is one of the today`s top national teams, according to the FIFA ranking, qualified for the FIFA World Cup as the Group E winner in the European qualification.
The Poland national team will take part in the FIFA World Cup for the eighth time, and twice the Poles were able to win medals. For the first time Poland took part in the main tournament in 1938. In the tournament in France the White-Reds conceded to Brazil in the first round with the rare score 5:6. The forward Ernst Willimowski, who is still in the ten of the most productive players of the Poland national team of all time, scored four goals.
Next time Poland got qualified for the FIFA World Cup only in 1974. “The Eagles” perfectly held the tournament in Germany and could take the third place for the first time ever. The 1974 FIFA World Cup had two stages, each for teams to play according to the rotation system. At the first stage Poland confidently won all three matches 12:3 (Haiti, Italy and Argentina were beaten). In the second round, to get into the final it was necessary to win the first place in the group. In the first two matches, Poland won two heavy victories. The Sweden national football team were beaten with score 1:0, and Yugoslavia with score 2:1. In both matches Grzegorz Lato scored decisive goals. The fate of the berth at the final was determined in the match of the Poland and Germany teams. That was a fair contest which result was determined by the only goal which the hosts scored at the end of the match. It must be recognized, in 1974 Germany was really the strongest world team, it was extremely difficult to play as a competitor in the home tournament. In the match for the 3rd place Poland, thanks to Lato`s goal, sensationally outplayed Brazil, and for the first time ever won bronze medals of the FIFA World Cup. For the first but not last time.
8 years later, in the World Cup in Spain the Poles repeated the result. This time the tournament from the very first developed not very good for “the Eagles”. At the first group stage in the two first matches with participation of the Poland national football team draw 0:0 was recorded. To leave for the second round, Poland must have won over Peru in the third one. And in this match, at last, Poland won victory 5:1, and again, as well as 8 years ago, the powerful contribution to victory was made by Grzegorz Lato. At the second group stage the critical part was played by the large victory over Belgium, 3:0 (hat-trick of Zbigniew Boniek). Thanks to this victory and a draw against the USSR national football team, Poland, due to the best difference of scored and missed goals, left for the semi-final. Unfortunately, Poland conceded in the semi-final to the future winner again, 2:0 (from Italy). In the match for the third place Poland beat France. The second bronze of the World Cup for eight years is an excellent result for the modest national team from Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately, there the Poland success in the World Cups dropped. In the contemporary history the last participation of the Poles in the final tournament is dated 2006. At the tournament in Germany, even with support of their fans, “the Eagles” could win only one victory which was gained in the last round when Poland lost every chance to get into the round of 16.
Surprisingly, but at quite good results in the World Cups, the Poland national football team in the 20th century could never get through to the UEFA European Championship. Poland participated in three last UEFA European Championships. In 2008 and 2012 the White-Reds couldn’t leave the group, and won no victory. At the same time in 2012 Poland hosted the UEFA European Championship.
Only in the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France Poland showed worthy results. At the group stage Poland won two minimum victories, 1:0 over the teams of Ukraine and Northern Ireland. In the match with the Germany national football team, the favorite of the European Championship, Poland battled as an equal and achieved a deserved draw. Seven points allowed Poland to make play-off. Both matches of “the Eagles” in play-offs came to the end with score 1:1. In the round of last 16 Poland outplayed Switzerland in a penalty shootout 5:4, and in the quarterfinal conceded to Portugal, 5:3, also on a penalty. Getting into the eight strongest national teams of Europe has become the best result of the Poland national football team.
On the wave of success Poland goes to the 2018 World Cup Russia as a “dark horse” – a team which can surprise and achieve serious results in the tournament. “The Eagles” perfectly played in the qualifiers, won 8 of 10 matches, and scored 28 goals. The Poland national football team has an excellent attacking line with Robert Lewandowski, one of the best forwards in the world. In general, the national team is well balanced and plays with emphasis on defense. Provided that the team leaders are fighting-fit, the Poland national football team can try and leave for the quarterfinal.