Team Poland Bounced from World Cup 2006

After an early bouncing from World Cup 2006 at the hands of Ecuador and host nation Germany, they’re calling for the head of coach Pawel Janas in Poland. Imagine that. So who here is surprised?

In Poland’s game one match on day one of World Cup 2006, Janas ran a 4-5-1 offense. Janas’ decision to do so was short stroked all over international media following the 2-0 loss to Ecuador. 1974 Team Poland striker Andrzej Szarmach threw in his two zlotys, stating that Maciej Zurawski should be dropped for the Germany game while taking a swipe or two at Coach Janas for good measure.

Also questioned after the Ecuador match was Janas’ decision not to name Jerzy Dudek of Liverpool FC to the team; the press overwhelmingly gave starting goalkeeper Artur Boruc poor marks in the loss. Michal Zewlakow cited mistakes and bad luck as problems in the Ecuador match.

But if possible, World Cup 2006 would get worse for Janas and Team Poland. In game two versus Germany, Team Poland benefitted from simply awesome play from Boruc, who gave up the body repeatedly in stopping bullet after bullet to a superman’s total of 23 shots, ten on goal.

Poland played eighty-nine minutes of excellent (okay, good enough) football, adopting the necessary do-or-die attitude and stopping waves of blitzkriegs from Team Germany, particularly in the first half. At midway, the possession clock read 57-43 Germany; by game’s end that would be 51-49 Poland as the red and white owned the ball in the last forty-five minutes. Janas looked, if not like a genius, certainly far far more clever and confident than the media of Poland would have it.

Poland completed their 98.9% well-played regulation time with a heat-stopping 1.1% worth of luck in the 90th, which had German shots hitting crossbar and post . In extra time, Odonkor and Neuville’s lightning hit, and Poland fans were thunderstruck. Final score: Germany 1, Poland o.

Janas’ job security was instantly in question

To make matters worse, Janas has to wait after World Cup 2006 is settled before the Polish football association will inform him about his future. Association chief executive Michal Listkiewicz was quoted in the Guardian online edition as saying, “I expect the decision will be taken sometime between July 15-20 and I would underline that our assessment will be of the whole of [Janas’] three years in charge.”

“In general,” said Listkiewicz, “I view his work as excellent.”

In Team Poland’s last seventy matches going back to August 2003, their record shows forty-six wins against seventeen losses and seven draws.

According to the Guardian piece, sportswriters in Poland are having the greatest problems with Janas’ “overly defensive approach to the Ecuador game.” Imagine that. Even this football ignoramus wondered why Janas had his game one guys running with one striker and a weak attack. Against Germany, the stratagem seems believable, but in the Ecuador match, it was inappropriate at best.

Listkiewicz prefers to blame the players: “It certainly seemed to me that the loss against Ecuador was rather about the attitude, or professionalism, or simply mistakes by particular players.”

Now that Poland has been eliminated from World Cup 2006 and is certain to become a mere footnote, the only question remaining for Janas and Team Poland is how long it will be before we see lists of speculative prospective replacements.

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