Poland – Scotland (Friendly Match)
Midweek match in Warsaw will be a crucial first step for 2016 European Championship qualification campaign. Poland and Scotland are both in Group D, that also includes Germany, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and débutante Gibraltar.
After their chances to be in Brazil fell through due to a rather meek qualification campaign the Polish national team found a decent run of form. They were 4th in Group H – 3W/ 4D/ 3L – with 13 points, behind England, Ukraine and Montenegro. Since then they only loss one – Slovakia (0-2) – of their last four friendlies that included wins over Norway (3-0) and Moldova (0-1).
Head coach Adam Nawalka is dealing with the absence of several of his more regular players such as Jakub Wawrzyniak, Adrian Mierzejewski, Adam Matuszczyk and Pawel Brozek. Latest news say striker Robert Lewandowski in doubtful due to strained ligaments and could sit this one out. A more precise assessment will be performed prior to the game but just in case Luke Teodorczyk, a 22-years-old forward playing for Lech Poznan, was called upon to join the Poland squad. If Borussia Dortmund star is sidelined team-mate Lukas Piszcek will take his place as team captain. All of the three contenders to goal position play in the Premier League – Szczesny and Fabianski for the Gunners, Boruc for the Saints. Artur Boruc is particularly familiar with Scottish players due to his tenure in Celtic.
The Poles may be without their best and more experienced striker but they have a really solid defence and enough creativity in the midfield to make the Scott’s live difficult.
Probable line-up: Szczesny – Celeban, Glik, Jedrzejczyk, Piszczek – Krichowiak, Polanski, Obraniak, Peszko – Lewandowski, Milik.
Scotland came short in their campaign to attend World Cup in Brazil. Being forth in Group A, after Belgium, Croatia and Serbia, with mere 11 points in 33 possible was the best they could do. Now they are preparing for the next big challenge, hoping for a successful qualifying run that grants them access to Euro 2016 in France.
Head Coach Gordan Strachan hailed the return of Darren Fletcher to the fold, following a extended struggle with ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel condition than almost forced him away from football. If he is fielded it will be the first time since November 2012, certainly a moment to celebrate. Dundee’s left-back Andrew Robertson received his first call and Sunderland’s Phil Barnsley gets to return to the squad.
Leighton Griffiths earned a late call to the squad following Blackburn Rovers defender Grant Hanley and Norwich City midfielder Robert Snodgrass withdraw from Wednesday’s match. Hanley has a calf injury and Snodgrass is dealing with recurring muscle issues.
Probable line-up: Marshall – Hutton, Martin, Greer, Whittaker – Forrest, Brown, Fletcher, Adam, Anya – Naismith.
The friendly between Poland and Scotland was schedule long before the two side were drawn together in Euro 2016 qualifying group. As it turn out it became even more interesting as a away of measuring against the opposition. That is probably why the two managers are giving anything away, maintaining their decisions close to their vests. Beware of Poland’s lower rankings at the moment – 70th according to FiFA’s, opposed to Scott’s 34th spot –, they are still a strong side with effective performers.