St. Petersburg (dpa) – Robert Lewandowski tried sober analysis after the opening flop of his Poles, the local media, on the other hand, settled directly with the submerged world footballer.
“He didn’t succeed with the ball at his feet” and “he was one of the weakest on the field,” denounced the “Gazeta Wyborca” the 32-year-old Bayern Munich superstar. Captain Lewandowski and his teammates are threatened with an early knockout in the group stage after the disappointing 1: 2 start against outsider Slovakia in St. Petersburg. Even the duel with ex-world champions Spain on Saturday (9 p.m.) is now of immense importance for the Poles.
“Not in an easy position”
The highly decorated Lewandowski, who had come to the European Championship with the recommendation of all club and individual titles, could do in the pan-European tournament as in the European Championship 2012 or the World Cup in 2018, when Poland had already failed in the preliminary round. “We have to take the responsibility on our shoulders. We still have two games to go, of course, but we lost the first one with the theoretically weakest opponent. That’s why we’re not in an easy position,” said the star striker, who hardly got any balls a few feeds inadequately processed.
Former DFB captain Michael Ballack said on MagentaTV: “I think he was more or less frustrated for 90 minutes.” The top striker himself sounded like this: “On the one hand, it would have been good to have had more passes and more opportunities. On the other hand, I have to adapt to the situation. This is the European Championship, you won’t get that many chances. I am aware of that.”
Meager tournament yield
While Lewandowski has now fulfilled all of his goals and dreams as a club footballer, he is constantly experiencing new flops and disappointments when working for his home country. On the one hand, because the players lacked quality in the absence of the injured Arkadiusz Milik and Krzysztof Piatek. On the other hand, because Lewandowski, without his familiar surroundings in Munich, often finds it difficult to perform as well in important games as we know from him. Lewandowski has only scored two goals in twelve tournament games at the World Cup or European Championship since 2012.
Defense chief Jan Bednarek openly criticized: “We have to accept that as men. Everyone now has to look in the mirror and wonder if they could have done more.” Slovakia around veteran Marek Hamsik was seen as a feasible starting task, but it won’t be easier for Lewandowski and his team. After the guest appearance at the former world champions in Seville, a duel with the Swedes awaits at the end, who proved their enormous defensive quality in the 0-0 win against Spain and could already give them a point in the group final. The starting position is therefore extremely unfavorable for Poland.
When analyzing the start, everyone wanted to describe Lewandowski’s work in as much detail as possible. From “switched off” (Ondrej Duda) to “neutralized” (Slovakia coach Stefan Tarkovic) to “extinguished” (Polish media), all sorts of terms were used for the very weak performance of the man who finished the previous Bundesliga season with 41 goals and with it surpassed an almost 50-year-old record set by football legend Gerd Müller.
And now a long vacation after an early EM exit? At least there is not so much to suggest that the Poles can improve so significantly so quickly. Without Milik (Olympique Marseille) and Piatek (Hertha BSC), Lewandowski is missing important combination partners at the front. In the twelve months after the restart, the superstar himself also had an XXL program behind him and was constantly challenged physically and mentally in the hunt for records, awards and team titles.
“The center of the game was too far away from Robert. Our attack didn’t work as it should,” said national coach Paulo Sousa, who previously played for Borussia Dortmund. It’s a déjà vu with an announcement, the Poles tormented themselves pretty much in the previous five international matches of the year. The fact that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who made a mistake at the start of the tournament in 2012 and 2018, became a face of the false start with an unfortunate own goal, is emblematic of Lewandowski’s years in the national jersey.
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