Well, I suppose it could have been worse for Poland. Greece missed a penalty, had a goal disallowed, and a man unjustly sent off. Poland lives to fight another day, and will likely battle it out with Greece and the Czechs for second place in the Group. What interests me more is the Polish team’s approach. I’ve taken an interest in the Polish football side for nearly 20 years now, and what’s struck me during all that time is that – unlike the fabulous Polish teams of the 70s and 80s – later teams have at times seemed lacklustre and listless. Now, the Polish team didn’t start out like that tonight. They came out of the blocks really impressively, no doubt spurred on by years of build up to the tournament. But even when Lewandowski scored – nicely taken goal, by the way – I commented to my (nervous) other half that I had some doubt they could keep it up. This turned out to be the case – and some credit to the Greeks for that – at which point we saw Polish heads drop rather. This does not seem to be uncommon in the national team – my Polish friends have been complaining to me about it for years – and it may even be rooted in history. I explore this in some depth in my book Polska Dotty: how a nation second to none in determination and fight can nevertheless get very down on itself. What I’d like to see from this Polish football side – clearly a more talented one than any we’ve seen for years – playing on home turf with the crowd behind them – is more spirit and confidence. Add these extra ingredients, and I’m convinced the Poles can achieve their first ever victory in a Euros final, and maybe make the quarter finals – either of which would be achievements in themselves. Come on Bialo-Czerwoni!
To find out more about the Polish character purchase Polska Dotty by clicking on the book cover opposite