Saints at the World Cup: Bednarek

By SFC Media Fri 08 Jun International
Photo by Getty Images

We take an in-depth look at each of the four Southampton players heading to Russia for the 2018 World Cup; our concluding part looks at Jan Bednarek and Poland.

Road to Russia

Poland's Group H is perhaps the most open of all the 2018 tournament seedings, with every team having a realistic chance of progression.

Poland were unfortunate to lose to eventual winners Portugal on penalties in the Euro 2016 quarter-final, and are in strong form coming into World Cup competition.

Group E winners, talisman Robert Lewandowski scored a group high 16 goals during qualifying, although Poland have since suffered a blow to key man Kamil Glik, who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Poland's last association with the World Cup was in 2006, where they bowed out of the tournament in the knockout stages, but as a nation, do have two third-place finishes to their name (1974,1982).

World Cup fixtures

Poland vs Senegal
Tuesday 19th June (4pm BST)
Spartak Stadium
Moscow

Poland vs Colombia
Sunday 24th June (7pm BST)
Kazan Arena

Japan vs Poland
Thursday 28th June (3pm BST)
Volgograd Arena

Manager

Poland Head Coach Adam Nawalka

A star of Poland's run to the 1978 World Cup semi-finals as a player, and now at the helm as a coach, Adam Nawalka has recently elevated his Poland side into the world's top 10.

The Poles qualified for Russia in style, much owing to the experience and direction of Nawalka, giving them their place in the finals after twice missing out, in Brazil and South Africa.

A former midfielder, Nawalka spent most of his playing career at native club Wisła Kraków, before moving into management in 1998, and took over the national team in 2013.

Player to watch

Poland captain Robert Lewandowski during a World Cup qualifier against Denmark

In Robert Lewandowski, Poland have a fully matured striker, one of the purest line-leaders at the top of the game over the last decade.

Turning 30 not long after the World Cup, the Bayern Munich forward is Poland's ultimate talisman.

An obvious predator of the penalty area, he was top scorer across all European qualifiers with 16 goals, and is Poland's all-time top scorer. His goal-scoring prowess in enough to pose a threat to any side at Russia this summer.

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