You won’t get too many surprises. Argentina national team when facing Polandnext Wednesday at the 974 stadium: it will be a rival who will play withdrawn and bet on a set piece or a quick attack in transition.
Poland did not play well against Saudi Arabia and was even beaten. But it showed what it is: a patient team calmly waiting for its moment to strike.
Czeslaw Michniewicz is a pragmatic coach who can be described as conservative. If he took refuge against Saudi Arabia, everything suggests that he will do the same against Argentina, a bigger rival. He is also a technician who doesn’t wait to make tactical changes. In the duel against the Arabs, they started with a 5-3-2 and 25 minutes into the first set they were planted with a 4-4-2. With this tactical adjustment he was able to better contain the rival attack, which turned his game upside down in the right sector.
The disposition with which he started the match attracted attention: he left the left sector of the midfield free. It so happened that Piotr Zielinski (the most talented footballer, Napoli figure of Italy) moved as right midfielder, while Krystian Bielik and Grzegorz Krychowiak split down the middle. Nobody left, because Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski were local references. That vacant sector was what Arabia took advantage of and launched an offensive. Only with tactical tweaking was Poland able to counter it. What did he do? He sent the left side to play 8 and Zielinski switched it to the band.
If logic prevails, against Argentina he could not repeat that idea of freeing up the place where Ángel Di María and Lionel Messi usually go up. If you play with 5 defenders, they should concentrate Zielinski more, put Milik down or add a midfielder.
Poland is a team that neither puts pressure on the opponent’s exit nor bothers to fight for possession. Let the opponent be the star (Sarabia had 64% ball possession). He is very confident in his defence, especially when the attacks come from the flank and with the centers in the box. The central three have an imposing height which is why they usually leave the flanks free so that the opposing wingers or full-backs can get excited about the centre-backs.
They insisted: Poland didn’t press and played close to their goalkeeper Wojciech Szczeny. Nor does he risk in exits from below. In any case, it cannot be said that he plays decisively on the counterattack. He’s pretty direct on offense, but usually picks up a couple of passes in the middle of the field and then comes out on speed. None of his offensive players are natural sprinters: that’s why he needs to accumulate a couple of touches to switch from defense to attack. They are good at direct play: against Arabia all the situations they created were like that. Zielisnki’s first goal can be used to show how the Poles try to hurt.
Argentina must be patient and attentive to the few opportunities that the Europeans let slip. The national cast will take care of managing the ball, who must be aware that the stopwatch cannot lead them to despair. The circulation of internal midfielders will be essential and they must not fall into the trap of box centers. Because Poland will allow such shipments.
Finally, it will be very important not to give away free kicks near the area or in the corner because the Poles are appallingly tall: they have an average of 186 centimeters, while that of the Argentines is 179.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.