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Rediff.com  » Sports » Penpix of Poland's World Cup squad

Penpix of Poland's World Cup squad

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May 26, 2006 15:31 IST

Poland's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 22, 2006)

GOALKEEPERS

1-Artur Boruc (Celtic, Scotland) Born: 20.2.80 Caps: 15 Goals: 0

The former Legia Warsaw youth team player has quickly established himself as Celtic's first choice since moving on loan last year and he signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Glasgow club in October. Specialising in penalty saves this season for Celtic, his case for the number one shirt has been undermined by some embarrassing mistakes in recent months.

12-Tomasz Kuszczak (West Bromwich Albion, England) Born: 20.3.82 Caps: 3 Goals: 0

Has drawn wide acclaim in Poland for a run of strong performances in England's Premier League, but had not played for the national squad before being recalled for friendlies this year.

22-Lukasz Fabianski (Legia Warsaw) Born: 18.4.85 Caps: 2 Goals: 0

Widely seen as the best keeper in the Polish League this season. Many view Fabianski as a bigger talent than either Jerzy Dudek, whose place in the squad he takes, or Boruc. Only 21, he has just 14 minutes of international football to his name and goes to the finals as third choice behind Kuszczak.

DEFENDERS

6-Jacek Bak (Al Rayan, Qatar) Born: 24.3.73 Caps: 70 Goals: 2

After a decade with France's RC Lens and Olympic Lyon, the tall but mobile Bak is Poland's most experienced international defender. Quick on his feet, he is the team's best passer of the ball at the back and an almost certain starter.

2-Mariusz Jop (FK Moscow, Russia) Born: 8.3.78 Caps: 10 Goals: 0

A move from Wisla Krakow to Moscow has helped the huge centre-back to make the jump to international football and solid performances against England and Wales last year make him odds-on favourite to start alongside Bak. Man-marks well, strong in the tackle and maturing fast with his Russian club side.

14-Michal Zewlakow (Anderlecht, Belgium) Born: 22.4.76 Caps: 54 Goals: 1

One of a battery of fullbacks tried in the weak spot on the Polish team, Zewlakow is seen as a safe choice but gives the team few additional options in attack. Among a handful of survivors from the Poles' poor showing in Korea four years ago, he has returned to first-team football with his club Anderlecht since recovering from an Achilles injury earlier this year.

4-Marcin Baszczynski (Wisla Krakow) Born: 7.6.77 Caps: 30 Goals: 1  

Seen as the best of a bad bunch, Baszczynski's uneven form for Wisla Krakow and Poland should not stop him from starting at right-back. Offers a more attacking option than Zewlakow and with Wisla has shown he can compete with the best at international level -- if on form.

17-Dariusz Dudka (Wisla Krakow) Born: 9.12.83 Caps: 6 Goals: 0

Quick and talented, Dudka emerged under national coach Pawel Janas at his former club Amica Wronki and has been a regular in the national squad for friendlies. Two-footed, he can play as either fullback or in the middle of defence, but travels to Germany as a reserve with only six friendly caps.

3-Seweryn Gancarczyk (Metallist Kharkov, Ukraine) Born 22.11.81 Caps: 2 Goals: 0

Man of the match after being plucked from obscurity for a debut against Lithuania in early May, Gancarczyk is hard in the challenge and has a sharp turn of pace. May press Michal Zewlakow for a starting spot at left-back.

MIDFIELDERS  

8-Jacek Krzynowek (Bayer Leverkeusen, Germany) Born: 15.5.76 Caps: 56 Goals: 9

The most successful of Poland's outfield emigres has worried national team coaches by falling out of favour at Bayer Leverkeusen since ankle surgery in August. A sweet left foot, incisive passing and quick feet make him the Poles' main attacking threat from midfield and a certain starter. But the lack of first-team football leaves a question mark over his form.

18-Mariusz Lewandowski (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine) Born: 18.5.79 Caps: 24 Goals: 1

Plays his club football at centre-back but normally used by coach Janas as a defensive midfielder and goes as a reserve in both roles. Emerged with credit from his club's Champions League campaign last year and has produced some strong performances in the UEFA Cup this season.

10-Miroslaw Szymkowiak (Trabzonspor, Turkey) Born: 12.11.76 Caps: 27 Goals: 3

The Poles' diminutive playmaker has stepped up a level since moving to Trabzonspor in 2004. When on song, his sharp through-balls and free-kicks give the side an edge, but he plays as a deep-lying forward in Turkey and can struggle in the more combative midfield role against top-class opposition. Still fighting his way back to top form after knee surgery last year.

7-Radoslaw Sobolewski (Wisla Krakow) Born: 13.12.76 Caps: 17 Goals: 1

Wisla Krakow turned down a 400,000-pound bid from Scotland's Hearts for Sobolewski and another from Southampton during the transfer window in January. Primarily a midfield enforcer, he has widened the scope of his passing and now regularly gets into the box when Poland attack. Emerged with credit from October's 2-1 defeat against England, but has struggled for form since returning from injury in March.

5-Kamil Kosowski (Southampton, England) Born: 30.7.77 Caps: 43 Goals: 4

A failure in two seasons at Germany's Kaiserslautern, the tall and ungainly Kosowski remains a talisman for the national team despite his continuing lack of first-team football. Has inspired the Poles to some of their best football with his aggressive running and crossing. Left-footed, he often plays on the right to fit in with Jacek Krzynowek.

16-Arkadiusz Radomski (Austria Vienna, Austria) Born: 27.6.73 Caps: 18 Goals: 0

Has failed to prove himself as the Poles' holding midfielder despite numerous starts but has improved steadily and goes to Germany hoping to press Sobolewski for a starting place.

13-Sebastian Mila (Austria Vienna, Austria) Born: 10.7.82 Caps: 26 Goals: 6

Mila often adds zest to the Polish midfield as a substitute late on in games, but as yet has failed to threaten playmaker Szymkowiak in the starting line-up. He has played only a handful of games this year but impressed in May's friendly against the Faroe Islands.

19-Bartosz Bosacki (Lech Poznan) Born: 20.12.75 Caps: 10 Goals: 0

A last minute inclusion after midfielder Damian Gorawski was diagnosed with a heart problem, Bosacki has 10 years in the Polish league behind him, returning to Lech Poznan this season after a year with Bundesliga club Nuremburg. Tall but with a nice touch, can play in the middle of defence or at right-back.

20-Piotr Giza (Cracovia Krakow) Born: 28.2.80 Caps: 4 Goals: 0

The biggest surprise in Janas's final squad, Giza has only two hours of international football to his name and is expected to play only in the event of an injury crisis in midfield. Valued by Janas for his solid technique and a good turn of pace, he has stood out in a poor Cracovia side who finished near the bottom of the Polish top flight.

FORWARDS

9-Maciej Zurawski (Celtic, Scotland) Born: 12.9.76 Caps: 48 Goals: 15

After a poor start "Magic", as his Celtic fans have dubbed him, has started scoring regularly since his reported three-million-euro move from Wisla Krakow last year. More comfortable playing behind a second forward, he flourished alongside Frankowski at Wisla Krakow. The team's joint top scorer in qualifying with seven goals. Quick, aggressive and strong with a good shot in both feet.

15-Euzebiusz Smolarek (Borussia Dortmund, Germany) Born: 9.1.81 Caps: 11 Goals: 3

Nerveless finishing, quick feet and a sharp turn of pace have made "Ebi" Smolarek one of the sharpest finishers in the Bundesliga this season. Son of former Poland international Wlodzimierz Smolarek, Ebi will fight with the more experienced and physical Kamil Kosowski for a starting berth.

11-Grzegorz Rasiak (Southampton, England) Born: 12.1.79 Caps: 26 Goals: 6

Lanky and stoic in stature. Some Polish fans have called him the "Wooden Ronaldinho". A failure at Tottenham Hotspur this season, Rasiak has answered his critics with a return to form since moving to Southampton earlier this year and remains Janas's favoured option as a target-man partner for Zurawski.

21-Ireneusz Jelen (Wisla Plock) Born: 9.4.81 Caps: 7 Goals: 1

Among the most feared front-men in the Polish league with pace and a good touch, Jelen has earned six friendly caps since his debut in 2003, including a much-praised performance in the Poles' win over Saudi Arabia in March. Can operate either on the wing or as a deep-lying forward.

23-Pawel Brozek (Wisla Krakow) Born: 21.4.83 Caps: 3 Goals: 1

Janas shocked Polish fans and media by giving youngster Brozek the nod for Germany after a run of goals for Wisla Krakow this year that have raised hopes he may be a natural successor to the team's current generation of strikers. Scored on his debut against Mexico.

Source:
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