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Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 22:11 UK

Poland team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to Poland.

Fixtures (Group B):


v Germany - 8 June, 1945 BST, Klagenfurt
Germany team guide

v Austria - 12 June, 1945 BST, Vienna
Austria team guide

v Croatia - 16 June, 1945 BST, Klagenfurt
Croatia team guide

How did they get there: In hugely impressive style from a difficult group including Belgium, Serbia and Finland, they finished top of the pile in Group A just above Portugal. After a defeat and a draw from their first two games they won their next six in a row.

Leo Beenhakker

Manager: Leo Beenhakker. The veteran Dutch coach has been a manager for more than 35 years, but claimed Poland's qualification for Euro 2008 was one of the "biggest successes of my career". Led Trinidad & Tobago to their first World Cup finals in 2006 and has had success all over the world.

Captain: Maciej Zurawski. The former Celtic striker responded well to being given the armband by Beenhakker and has found his niche in the side playing just behind main striker Ebi Smolarek.


Euro highlights: Qualifying was the first real highlight they have had - Poland have never before played in a European Championship. They came close in 1980, finishing just a point behind the Netherlands in qualifying.

Euro legend: Which Pole will write their name in the history books? The title is very much up for grabs.

Ebi Smolarek

Star man: It could be Ebi Smolarek. The 27-year-old Racing Santander striker, whose dad Wlodzimierz played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals, struck nine goals in qualifying to become a national hero. Has struggled a touch in La Liga, but the Poles are relying on him.

Strengths: In Celtic's Artur Boruc they have a top-class goalkeeper and after their insipid showing at the World Cup two years ago, little will be expected of them so they may surprise a few. Beenhakker rarely sticks to the same formation, so they should be adaptable.

Weaknesses: A lack of genuine strength in depth. With the retirements of playmakers Miroslaw Szymkowiak and Radoslaw Sobolewski they are desperately short of creativity - Smolarek can clearly put them away, but can he create them as well?

World ranking: Joint 28th.

Our verdict: The group gives them some hope, but in truth Germany and Croatia should prove too strong, whatever the wily Beenhakker conjures up. Will probably be pleased just to be there.

see also
Poland coach to trim down squad
24 May 08 |  Poland
Pick your Poland XI
23 May 08 |  Poland
Country profile: Poland
05 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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