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Murawski could hold key for Poland

Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 17.14CET
Poland's preparations were rounded off in resounding fashion on Saturday and team reporter Alex O'Henley has identified one player who could make a real impact for Franciszek Smuda's team.
by Alex O'Henley
from Warsaw
 
 
Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 17.14CET

Murawski could hold key for Poland

Poland's preparations were rounded off in resounding fashion on Saturday and team reporter Alex O'Henley has identified one player who could make a real impact for Franciszek Smuda's team.

When he was asked in the press conference after Saturday's Andorra friendly whether the same XI would line up for Friday's UEFA EURO 2012 opening match against Greece, Franciszek Smuda replied with a straight bat and a mischievous smile.

©Cyfrasport

Poland coach Franciszek Smuda before the Andorra game

"You can write this if you want," said the Poland coach, "but I reserve the right to change it. We'll see on Friday." However, injury apart, it would be a major surprise if Smuda did not start with the following team against Fernando Santos's side – Szczęsny; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Polanski, Murawski; Błaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus; Lewandowski.

Watching the Andorra game, the two holding midfielders were interesting for me, especially Rafał Murawski who seemed to have a bit more freedom to advance into the pockets of space in front of him whereas Eugen Polanski was the more disciplined defensive sitter. KKS Lech Poznań player Murawski launched the move that led to Ludovic Obraniak's first goal by releasing Maciej Rybus down the left and was equally comfortable switching to the other side, swapping incisive passes with his captain Jakub Błaszczykowski who scored the third goal from the penalty spot six minutes before the break.

©Getty Images

By instinct and design both Poland and Greece are counterattacking teams, so something will have to give on Friday and with the hopes of the nation resting on their shoulders, I suspect the onus will be on the hosts to take more of a chance going forward. This is where Murawski could prove a key man. If he can supply Rybus, Błaszczykowsk and Łukasz Piszczek in the wide areas, they are more than capable of providing the kind of service that Obraniak and lone striker Robert Lewandowski can turn into goals.

Much has already been said and written about the significance of Borussia Dortmund's Polish trio of Piszczek (27 yesterday), Błaszczykowski and Lewandowski. All three were directly involved in 51 of Borussia's 80 goals in the Bundesliga this season, so it is little wonder the German champions are affectionately known as Polonia Dortmund in these parts.

Błaszczykowski hopes their success at club level will "infect" the rest of the national squad for the EURO and while Greece will be an entirely different proposition, there were plenty of encouraging signs against Andorra to suggest the 'Dortmund contagion' might be spreading at just the right time.

Last updated: 26/06/12 6.30CET

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