I was onto something. In my prediction I simply doubled the score (6-2) but I take 3-1 victory over Ivory coast any time! Fantastic win for Poland! Great offense again, but ... horrible defense! The goal by Ivory Coast in 45th minute was the third gift from the Polish defender (a pass in a penalty area to opponent is never advisable!). Fortunately, they took advantage of only one mistake. Horrible defense!
The 11 that started against Ivory Coast: Fabianski - Piszczek, Jodlowiec, Wojtkowiak, Sadlok - Matuszczyk, Murawski - Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Mierzejewski - Lewandowski. Out of that 11, 4-6 players do not guarantee international level of play. Three of them are defenders! Scary!
However, there is hope about (lack of) defense. Early next year, and if everything goes smoothly, Columbian Manuel Arboleda, French Damien Perquis and Brazilian Hernani, will receive Polish passports. Since we have very unreliable defenders (shame!) there is no other choice. Now if that happens, Poland will have a complete team that will only need time to gel for the next 18 months to compete successfully against the European elite.
Offense is almost ready, Smuda (our coach) declared following the game. Well, it is impressive at last and international level in every game is certainly achievable for them. That would be a dream come true. Another important fact, this is a young team built not only for Euro 2012 but also beyond. Wait a minute? Could it be!? Yes, something unthinkable a short while ago but Poland is on its way to the elite! And I am not being biased (ok, maybe a bit but it looks like this team can join European superpowers relatively soon). Don't you screw this up, young Polish eagles! You kin do it! Just don't fall in love with yourselves after one good game.
My evolving starting lineup (since Boruc seems out for good, at least get Szczesny to back up Fabianski, Mr Smuda): Fabianski - Piszczek, Perquis, Arboleda, Boenisch - Matuszczyk, Murawski - Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Grosicki - Lewandowski.
Matuszczyk, only 21, looks to be a fantastic player. Murawski is certainly replacable (Majewski? a new name? Hopefully). Same with Grosicki, whose position is taken by Mierzejewski for now but Grosicki should be given a chance. No Peszko please! Smolarek, if he comes back to his old self one more time would be great, too).
Poland wants to surprise many during EURO 2012 and it certainly can. Its main goal is to make at least quarterfinals. I hate such minimalist thinking. As a host nation, especially as a host nation, there is only one goal - the championship!
The EURO 2012 will reveal a true character of all players. It is unknown how Poles, who only play friendly matches now, will cope with such pressure. No doubt, standing in front of 40 thousand fans facing Italy (my guess) in an opening game in Warsaw will be completely different. There is only one player who passed such test with flying colors. A fact is that in world cup 2006 in Germany and Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria it was only Artur Boruc who revealed a world class. The last line of defense will likely watch his fellow countrymen in front of TV in two years. Therefore with the help of fanatical Polish fans, myself included, I can only hope that the lucky 11 will copy Boruc's perfomances from 2006 and 2008. If they can, Poland will be crowned a new European champion!