Poland regained top spot in UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 4 after a comprehensive victory that will boost confidence in their bid to qualify for Portugal.
Back on track
After a lacklustre goalless draw with Hungary on Saturday, Poland are level on seven points with Latvia but have a superior goal difference. Sweden, who won 2-1 in Hungary tonight, are two points behind but, like Latvia, have a game in hand on Poland.
Poland began in perfect fashion tonight with in-form Wisla Kraków midfield player Miroslaw Szymkowiak scoring from 20 metres after only three minutes. His club-mate Kamil Kosowski struck a well-timed volley from 25 metres just before the half-hour mark to put the match beyond an industrious but limited San Marino side.
In the second half, Wisla's Marcin Kuzba scored twice for Poland after neat exchanges with another player from Krakow, Maciej Zurawski. In between, Hertha BSC Berlin's Bartosz Karwan also found the net as Poland repeatedly broke through San Marino's defence. The visitors never gave up despite having to wait until the 53rd minute for their first effort on goal through Andy Selva.
But the victory may have come at a price as Panathinaikos FC striker Emmanuel Olisadebe, who appeared to suffer a groin strain, and RC Lens defender Jacek Bak were both substituted early in the first half due to injury. However, Poland coach Pawel Janas was accentuating the positive after the game.
He said: "This is a good result. We had a new team and I am satisfied with the performance of the players." He paid particular praise to the efforts of youngsters like Marcin Burkhardt, claiming "these are the players that should be the basis for our future".
San Marino coach Giampaolo Mazza paid tribute to his opponents. He said: "We played against a great team tonight and they scored beautiful goals. I am satisfied with my team's performance. A five-goal difference is normal between our teams if you look at the level of football in the two countries."