13 paź 2010

The Pointless Tour

It's been eight games and still counting. Since beating Bulgaria 2-0 on Polonia Warsaw ground in March, Poland under Franciszek Smuda management still looks for another win. To find one, they even traveled across the ocean to United States and Canada in the middle of the club season. Clubs were angry but the federation earned some money, at least from the game with USA. But can we take any positives from this short tour in Northern America, apart from the usual stuff we got from the manager about team building? 

Well, looking at it, we don't know anything new about the national team. We knew that Błaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund) is our main star, Ludovic Obraniak (Lille) can be very influential on his day and Adrian Mierzejewski (Polonia Warszawa) may be the rising leader in this squad. But also it was well documented that our defence is slow - both in running and thinking and USA with Ecuador proved that we must strengthen there to think even about one point during group stage of EURO 2012. Also Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund) is out of form and lacks playing time which could be also seen in every single episode he got on the pitch in Bundesliga.

But that's all. Nothing new as I said. Of course, Smuda took with him few new players, to fans and experts surprise the names of Wołąkiewicz (Lechia Gdańsk), Bonin (Górnik Zabrze) and Bartosz Salamon (Foggia) came out but only the first one got the time during those two games to show his worth. With average effect to be honest. Also Łukasz Mierzejewski (Cracovia) proved that he is not international level as a left back. But the funniest story was with Andrzej Niedzielan. The Korona Kielce striker, after netting eight in eight games was tipped to be called up, although Smuda said that he will not give a chance to someone that 'had only one or two better games'. Week later and Niedzielan was in the squad for USA and Ecuador games (after four-and-a-half year) just to play... twenty-one minutes. Hardly enough of the time to prove himself as useful to the team, right?

All right, some will say that the games weren't that important, even though the scores aren't so bad. The training was the most important thing and the work done there with the whole squad. But again, what was the point of traveling all the way to USA only to have four training sessions? And even if someone will try to defend that point, I can hit it with another - no progress was shown by Polish team in terms of organization of the team on the pitch, defending and in terms of free-kicks and corners. Smuda said that he will end his selection with the end of 2010 and then starting proper work under his project for EURO 2012. But also he says that he treats every game as it is a six-pointer in qualifications or even more important. So why not let his team try to learn and play anything from the plan he prepares for 2011?

As I said, it was only great trip for Polish people in USA and two dozens of Polish FA workers that traveled with the squad to... Sorry, I've struggled to think of any reason why they should be there and spend PFA money. No wonder that our FA spends about 40% of its budget on administration costs. But fans and experts in Poland know what to expect from them, the team is much more important to every football person here. We had better moments during those two games, but we are too average to compete with the teams that are likely to gain promotion to EURO 2012. With the current tempo of improving the team (or to be honest, without any progress documented in last eight games) we shouldn't be surprised when even in easier group Polish national team will struggle. And then we will all realize that there was a time to get the group together and make them play but it was wasted by Franciszek Smuda. As I think already, few hundreds days before the EURO even starts.

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