The Poland Under-17 team may only be in the early stages of their careers, but captain Gracjan Horoszkiewicz told UEFA.com that Marcin Dorna's side are already the very models of professionalism.
Poland qualified for the finals in Slovenia with a perfect record in the elite round and did not let up in their finals opener, beating Belgium 1-0 in Lendava on Friday. The Netherlands' 3-1 victory against Slovenia means Dorna's charges are second in Group B, but victory against the hosts on Monday could ensure they will be relocating from Maribor to Ljubljana for the last four.
"We are aware, but we are also aware of our mistakes against Belgium, even though we won," said Horoszkiewicz. "The most important thing is how we approach the game. If we do it professionally, we can match any team in the world."
Therein lies the very essence of this squad. "We are strong as a team," added Horoszkiewicz. "It's our coach who gave us the appropriate mentality. Nothing can be left to chance and in training you cannot lose focus for even one minute. Training is the most important thing we do, it is sacred, but on the other hand there is time for rest. We go to sleep at 22.00 and we can't allow ourselves to go sleep at 23.00 or 24.00 because then it will show on the pitch. We are aware how important it is.
"The motto of our team is 'Honos habet onus' [Honor carries responsibility]. It's an honour to play for the national team but there are many responsibilities which come with it. But those are responsibilities we love. We are at the European Championship and it depends only on us if we take full advantage."
Poland's unblemished sequence in getting here had many tipping them as dark horses for the title, but Horoszkiewicz insists it is not in the team's nature to believe their own hype. "What we achieved by getting to Slovenia we have already wiped from our minds," he said. "It's a new tournament and a new challenge.
"We are proud to have the opportunity to represent our country. We are proud that our parents, fans and people all over Poland can watch us on TV. We really wanted to be in Slovenia, but on the other hand we don't think we have reached our peak. We can't rest on our laurels. Our coach says that even if we don't win the title we have to gain experience and learn every day. However, since we are here, why not win the title?"
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