22 maj 2012

Euro 2012 - Subs fail to impress Smuda

The game against Latvia was played only to give Franciszek Smuda some answers about his initial squad for the European Championships that awaits him and his team in just sixteen days. After causing quite a surprise with several call-ups for the initial 26-men wide squad, there will be less of them in the moment he cuts off three players - most possibly he will choose from the ones that have featured tonight.

The answers? Well, first of all, Paweł Brożek delivered one about his form and there is no surprise that after a season without first-team football, he may fail to show his strengths at the international level. Smuda said that he was given a credit for his performances in earlier test games, yet there is no sign of the best of him - against Latvia, he was often caught offside, tried to play with his back to the goal but was easily dispossessed by rival defenders.

Artur Sobiech, on the other hand, looked more ambitious or more dangerous in his approach - he maybe was less active in the set up play that was the one thing Brożek could get a praise tonight, but after all it was younger striker who scored the only goal with a timed header. His role at Hannover is only limited to several subs but he knows exactly what he has to do in such short time to impress - given thirty minutes tonight, Sobiech could be certain to be given more of the time on Saturday, when Poland's next match is.

Łukasz Piszczek, observing the game only from the stands of the embarrassingly empty stadium in Klagenfurt, could see that his place is not in danger at all - Grzegorz Wojtkowiak looked almost scared to pass the half-line and when he did, there was no use of his service whatsoever. Sebastian Boenisch had similar game to him, yet Smuda will trust Werder's left-back much more, only to hope that recovering defender will give more to the team after three warm-up games than Jakub Wawrzyniak, who looked tired in the end of the league season at Legia.

A very hopeful performance from Łukasz Fabiański gave also an answer but only to the player, as his saves gave Poland less deserved clean sheet. Only lately he revealed that after last game of the season at Arsenal, he demanded a move from Arsene Wenger and several clubs, with West Ham among them, may be already looking at his performances after almost a year on the Gonners' subs bench. If he continues to keep it up, he may end the debate about Artur Boruc, or even get himself back the second position to the Polish goal, skipping over Przemysław Tytoń who should be impressed with his colleague tonight.

Rafał Wolski played only 45 minutes, yet early reaction from the manager and the team was very positive and creative midfielder will keep up surprising with his mature approach. He needed one game like that - or even half of it - only to convince Smuda that he is nowhere near the trio that will be cut out next week. Matuszczyk and Kucharczyk both looked much more fragile, unsure and simply poor when called up in action.

This was less about preparing the team strictly to the tournament, yet after a week of hard work, Smuda will see a first glimpses of how several players react to his training regime and whether their form is growing. That is why, despite overall strongly mediocre performance, he should be happy about the test - though as the few dozens of fans present in Klagenfurt for the international game have seen, the difference between subs and the likes of Lewandowski, Błaszczykowski and Piszczek is easy to notice.

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