Many Polish fans had envisioned supporting a different team than their own in Germany before striker Robert Lewandowski’s side turned a lacklustre Euro 2024 qualifying campaign into a last-minute ticket, possibly already exceeding local expectations.

Poland was the last team to qualify for the final when it edged Wales 5-4 on penalties in the playoffs after failing to book a spot directly from a group in which it finished third behind Albania and Czech Republic.

Winning just three of their eight qualifying games, it was close to missing out on the Euro final for the first time since its debut appearance in 2008.

But drawn into one of the toughest groups with twice European champions France, the Netherlands and Austria, all ranked above it, Poland will face a difficult road to progress to the knockout rounds.

Challenging Austria, which it faces after playing the Netherlands, to try to qualify as one of the best third-place teams could be its best bet of making progress.


Previous Euro performances: Four participations, best performance quarterfinals in 2016

Other: World Cup third place 1974, 1982

FIFA ranking: 28th

Nickname: Bialo-czerwoni (The White-Reds)

Coach: Michal Probierz (POL)

Star players: Wojciech Szczesny, Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski

Main clubs: Jagiellonia Bialystok, Legia Warsaw, Lech Poznan, Wisla Krakow

How did it qualify: Finished third in Group E behind Albania and Czech Republic; beat Estonia and then defeated Wales on penalties in play-offs

Pre-Euro friendlies:

Poland 3 Ukraine 1

Poland v Turkey (June 10)

However, with Poland’s qualification to compete amongst Europe’s 24 best teams having already been a late and rather unexpected feat, being freed from the weight of expectation may be just what the country needs to spring another surprise.

The Poles still vividly remember their best performance to date which came in 2016, when they defied the odds to reach the quarterfinals in France.

Having finished above Ukraine and Northern Ireland and earned a goalless draw with Germany in the group stage, they beat Switzerland on penalties in the last 16 before being eliminated in a shootout by eventual champion Portugal.

However, scoring may again prove a tricky task for the nation despite having one of Europe’s best strikers in Lewandowski.

Poland reached the Euro 2016 quarterfinals with only four goals in regular time and the most recent 2022 World Cup saw it progress to the last 16 as it scored only three times.

But Poland’s new coach Michal Probierz said his team were ready for a battle.

“We want to play football at these Euros, we don’t want to go there just to go on tour,” he said. “We want to play a very good tournament, get out of the group and fight for something more.”

Probierz, in charge since March, is Poland’s fifth coach in three years and will lead the country at its fifth Euro.


Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus/ITA), Marcin Bulka (Nice/FRA), Oliwier Zych (Puszcza Niepolomice), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna/ITA)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton/ENG), Bartosz Bereszynski (Empoli/ITA), Pawel Bochniewicz (Heerenveen/NED), Jakub Kiwior (Arsenal/ENG), Bartosz Salamon (Lech Poznan), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Kaiserslautern/GER), Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona/ITA), Sebastian Walukiewicz (Empoli/ITA)

Midfielders: Przemyslaw Frankowski (Lens/FRA), Kamil Grosicki (Pogon Szczecin), Jakub Moder (Brighton and Hove Albion/ENG), Taras Romanczuk (Jagiellonia Bialystok), Damian Szymanski (AEK Athens/GRE), Michal Skoras (Club Brugge/BEL), Nicola Zalewski (Roma/ITA), Jakub Piotrowski (Ludogorets/BUL), Bartosz Slisz (Atlanta United/USA), Sebastian Szymanski (Fenerbahce/TUR), Kacper Urbanski (Bologna/ITA), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli/ITA)

Forwards: Adam Buksa (Antalyaspor/TUR), Arkadiusz Milik (Juventus/ITA), Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona/ESP), Krzysztof Piatek (Istanbul Basaksehir/TUR), Karol Swiderski (Verona/ITA)


Poland vs Netherlands – June 16, Sunday – 6:30 PM

Poland vs Austria – June 21, Friday – 9:30 PM

Poland vs France – June 25, Tuesday – 9:30 PM


All of Poland’s matches at Euro 2024 will be telecasted on the Sony Sports Network. The matches will also be live-streamed on the SonyLIV app.

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)