Poland Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict

Poland Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict article feature image

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Robert Lewandowski.

This will be Poland's fifth straight appearance at the Euros, as they looks to defy the odds as the longest shot to get out of Group D.

Poland were pretty poor during qualifying. They were so poor that they needed to go through the qualification playoff. Poland beat Estonia and then Wales in penalties just to get here. Taking Poland's results overall in qualifying though isn't fair to them. Former Portugal manager Fernando Santos was hired at the beginning and was complete disaster. He was sacked half way through qualifying and Poland decided to promote their U21 coach Michal Probierz and the performances instantly got better.

While the performances did get better, this is a very old core that is lacking the talent to compete in the Euro field, so it's going to be an uphill climb for the Polish National Team.

Here is my Poland Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

Poland will typically build out in a 2-4 or 4-2 type of shape, but they typically don’t rely on many short passes to do so. The goal is to always look for a long direct ball over the top of the opponent's press or utilize Robert Lewandowski’s hold up play to guys making runs in behind the opponents back line.

Poland had the lowest forward pass completion rate in qualifying because of how direct they play. The problem is, they aren’t a team that will press opponents high and they typically don’t win a lot of high turnovers, so they have a very low amount of counterattack shots per 90 minutes.

As mentioned above, Poland made a change in manager mid way through qualifying to Michal Probierz. In the five qualifying matches where he was in charge, Poland created 9.77 expected goals and looked much better offensively.

One of the underrated aspects of Poland is how difficult they have been to break down during qualifying. They will sit in a 5-3-2, will rarely press opponents high and are incredibly active in their defensive shape to deny passing lanes from the opposition. Not only that, but they are a tremendous box defending team, which is going to be really key in this group since they are very rarely going to have the ball.

They were best in the Euro field during qualifying in cross completion rate allowed, forward pass completion rate allowed and they were even third in PPDA. The reason for that is they don’t just sit deep in a low defensive block, but rather they play more of a mid to high block, which gave a lot of teams in their group fits.

While that is all well and good, they best offensive team they played during qualifying was the Czech Republic, who put up a combined 3.32 expected goals over their two meetings.


data via WyScout

Final Verdict

The problem for Poland is outside of Lewandowski, they don’t have much else in terms of goal scoring production. However, Sebastian Szymański and Piotr Zieliński operating in the half space is a lethal combination with both possessing great passing range to get balls to Lewandowski.

As he’s gotten older, Lewandowski’s numbers have dropped off. He only had a 0.59 xG per 90 minute scoring rate for Barcelona this season when he was around one expected goal for Bayern Munich for five straight seasons.

Poland are properly priced as the favorite to finish at the bottom of this group, so I have no bet on them.

Final Verdict: Pass

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