Poland vs Argentina not a duel between Lewandowski and Messi: Polish coach

Photo: PAP/EPA/Ronald Wittek

The clash between Poland and Argentina will be a duel of the two teams, not strikers Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi, Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said on Tuesday before their decisive final World Cup Group C match on Wednesday.

Poland tops the standings with four points and will advance with a win or a draw. But they would be knocked out by a defeat coupled with a victory by Saudi Arabia over Mexico.

Robert needs his teammates

“It's not tennis where they’re going to play one-on-one and everyone will wait to see who serves an ace or a beautiful lob. Robert needs his teammates, so does Messi,” Poland’s coach added.

Argentina has won six out of their 11 games against Poland, while the Poles won the last time the teams met in 2011 in a friendly, but the South American squad sent reserves.

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“This match is not a friendly,” coach Michniewicz said. “It's going to be a fight between two teams who both can still progress.”

Unstoppable Messi

To make it happen, Poland will need to stop one of the world’s greats, Argentinian football star Leonel Messi.

“It’s a great question, how to stop Lionel Messi,” Michniewicz replied. “I think the whole world has been wondering about it for the past 18 years. And I don’t think we’re going to find out for as long as he’s still playing.”

The strategy for the match

The Polish team’s coach added that Poland would not approach the game with a single strategy.

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“We don’t have one approach. We can’t only be defensive, we need to be offensive too,” he said.

“Approaching this game hoping for a draw would make us lose because we must assume Argentina will be able to score. That’s why we’ll want to score from the start too,” he stressed.

“No one should feel stressed or under pressure, they should be joyful because it’s a great honour for any player, coach to play at the World Cup against Argentina,” Michniewich concluded.