Sunday, July 21, 2024

Poland rely on Lewandowski for must-win game vs Austria


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Berlin, June 20: Poland faces Austria on Friday in a game both have targeted as a must-win after losing their European Championship openers, and with a stronger opponent to follow. The fitness of Robert Lewandowski is the key question for Poland which led but lost to the Netherlands 2-1 without him.
Austria was beaten by France 1-0.
When Poland played Austria in their second group game at Euro 2008 the bizarre outcome was criticism by the Polish prime minister of English referee Howard Webb, who received threats online. Webb awarded Austria a stoppage-time penalty to get a 1-1 draw that was the only point each team got before failing to advance. The prime minister that day, Donald Tusk, returned last year to lead the national government.
Austria and Poland are meeting 16 years later, having, again, lost their first games. Austria as co-host in 2008 failed to reach the group stage, as did Poland as co-host four years later. Euro 2012 was the last 16-team tournament before it was expanded to 24, meaning four third-place teams must advance to the knockout rounds.Poland coach Michal Probierz was a contender for best-dressed person in the dugouts with his three-piece suit, centred on a beige check waistcoat, for the opening game. He is tailored by a team sponsor and there should be more fine threads on show on Friday in his “Peaky Blinders” style. Kickoff at 9:30 pm. IST.(AP)


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