PARIS: Poland’s first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will miss Thursday’s Euro 2016 clash with Germany but could return for their final Group C game against Ukraine, coach Adam Nawalka said.
Szczesny had been expected to shrug off the thigh injury he suffered in Poland’s 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland but that prognosis has proved overly optimistic.
“We cannot properly tell how long Szczesny will be sidelined,” Nawalka told a news conference on Wednesday. “Hopefully he will be ready for the match against Ukraine. That is what the team doctor hopes.”
Nawalka declined to reveal whether Lukasz Fabianski or the more experienced but error-prone Artur Boruc would replace Szczesny for the encounter with Germany in Paris.
Both teams are on three points after winning their opening matches, with Germany easing to a 2-0 victory over a limited Ukraine team, and know that three more points would all but ensure qualification to the knock-out stages with a game to spare.
A draw would also suit both sides but considering their historical and football rivalries neither team are likely to settle for a point from the outset.
Poland beat Germany 2-0 in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, their first ever competitive victory over Europe’s most successful football nation. Germany enjoyed revenge in the return fixture but that Warsaw win gave Poland renewed belief, said Nawalka.
“It was very important for us in terms of building our side, it was an important step in our progression to play better and better,” said Nawalka.
Poland are 27th in the FIFA World Rankings, their highest place this decade, and are vying to reach the second stage of a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.
Their improvement had been built on extending the pool of players in contention for the national team, said Nawalka.
His staff had identified 72 elite Polish players, on whom he received performance reports after their every match.
“That has helped make it easier to learn about the players, we understand very well what they are capable of,” said Nawalka.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)