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Robert Lewandowski Will Need to Put Poland On His Shoulders

Jun 07, 2018 5:41 PM EDT

The Odds

  • To win the World Cup: +7000
  • To win Group H: +165
  • To advance to Round of 16: -180

Bet To Watch

Robert Lewandowski to win the Golden Boot +3300 (5Dimes)

Poland lucked into a very balanced group. Despite having only the 19th-best ELO in the world, the only team in Group H with a higher ranking is Colombia. That doesn’t mean that they’re a safe bet to go through; Senegal is an extremely talented side, and while Japan is low on talent, they’re long on international experience. But Poland is the kind of squad that has the opportunity to quietly make a run to the quarterfinals if things break right.

The team is built to be solid and features one of the few true strikers at this year’s tournament, Robert Lewandowski. During World Cup qualifying Lewandowski led all of Europe with 16 goals. His teammates scored 12 combined. Lewandowski’s major skill is finding space in the penalty area to get off great shots. His ability to find space and finish means that Poland can be a potent attacking threat while still maintaining the kind of disciplined shape that other teams will have a hard time breaking down.

Poland’s path to a surprisingly successful tournament isn’t all that tricky. It doesn’t matter if they win their group or come in second, they will likely face either England or Belgium in the Round of 16. Both teams would be favored over Poland but both would struggle in their own ways. England might have difficulty breaking down a solid Polish defense (although a recent injury to defender Kamil Glik might weaken it) while Belgium’s front-footed attacking style might prevent it from guarding Lewandowski as tightly as possible.

If Poland were to make that surprise run, it’s almost certain that Lewandowski would be the main goal scorer. It makes him an attractive long shot for the Golden Boot award. Most players at the top of that list will be stars on good teams who will likely go far in the tournament but be one of many goal-scorers. Lewandowski on the other hand is a player sure to score his team’s goals — the question is only how far will Poland go.


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