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England: Stop Lewandowski and Poland can be beaten

Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly the danger man for Poland

"Lewandowski was so impressive against Man City in the Champions League recently and followed that performance by scoring against Hannover at the weekend, his third of the season."

England must be aiming to win in Poland if they want to finish the group as winners...

Once England have ensured a marked improvement in goal difference against San Marino they will quickly have to adjust their mentality to face Poland.

Comparisons with San Marino are non-existent and the Three Lions know these are the type of games which actually decide their qualifying fate.

The joint hosts of Euro 2012 were slightly disappointing in the summer though their squad is littered with players who earn their crust in the continent's top leagues.

However, the absence of Borussia Dortmund winger Jakub Błaszczykowski is a massive loss for the Polish after the 26-year-old injured ankle ligaments in the Bundesliga at the weekend.

Błaszczykowski had been in devastating form for club and country this season, scoring in both Poland's opening qualifiers and grabbing three goals for the German Champions.

Like England, the Polish have achieved a win and a draw from their opening games in Group H and will definitely be challenging all the way for qualification to Brazil.

Here is a little look at Poland under the microscope.

Coach: Waldemar Fornalik
Fornalik had never managed at international level before replacing Franciszek Smuda as natianl coach at the end of this summer's Euros. He does however have lots of experience of managing in Poland's top flight and secured the post after guiding Ruch Chorzow to second place in the Ekstraklasa last season. Fornalik has made a solid start as coach after an opening blip against Estonia in a friendly.

Danger Men: Robert Lewandowski/Ludovic Obraniak
Luckily for England winger Błaszczykowski is injured but the Polish do have other attacking threats, namely his team-mate at Dortmund Robert Lewandowski. Lewandowski was so impressive against Man City in the Champions League recently and followed that performance by scoring against Hannover at the weekend, his third of the season. At just 24 Lewandowski already has 45 caps under his belt and 15 international goals. Ludovic Obraniak operates as a play-maker and has already notched twice for Bordeaux this term.

Record against England: (W1, L10, D6)
Poland's stats against England are not favourable, having only beaten the Three Lions once - in 1973 - and losing on ten other occasions. More recently though, England recorded a pair of 2-1 victories over the Polish during qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

Form:
Poland's form has not been brilliant with only one win in their last six games, taking in three draws in that run. The Poles have also been a little goal shy in recent times too, managing to register more than one goal in only three out of their last 11 clashes.

England start as 1.618/13 favourites to qualify as Group H winners with their hosts set at 8.07/1 before this round of games kicks off.

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09 October 2012

World Cup 2014

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