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Thursday 8 December 2016

Lewandowski insists Poles have work to do to qualify

Lewandowski
Lewandowski

POLAND'S hat-trick hero Robert Lewandowski has jetted off on his hard-earned holidays and left the last challenge for the national team in the hands of the next generation

But the Bayern Munich man has warned Poland fans that, even though events in Saturday's qualifiers went their way as Poland trounced Georgia in Warsaw while Poland and Ireland dropped points with that 1-1 draw in Dublin, his side still have work to do before they can start booking trips to France.

While Ireland's players are now on their summer break, the next international for Martin O'Neill's men a full 12 weeks away, Poland have business to attend to: a friendly at home to Greece, in Gdansk, tonight.

Some of the Irish players, and some Scottish ones too, were effectively sprinting out of the gates at Lansdowne Road on Saturday night, eager to catch a flight to a sun holiday.

Whatever the Polish players think of having another game on their calendar tonight, the last place on earth that the Greek squad want to be in mid-June is in a Polish city on the Baltic coast to play in a friendly - the current bunch of Greek players have disgraced their nation with an abysmal display in Euro 2016 qualifying, two points gained from six games and, to their shame, the Faroe Islands are four points ahead of them in the table.

Poland look like they will ease off on the hard-up Greeks tonight as most of their key players have been allowed to leave the squad and begin their holiday, including Lewandowski, though some senior players (Artur Boruc, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Arkadiusz Milik) have remained on.

But Lewandowski, despite Poland's status as group leaders, is looking over his shoulder and he was keen to find out instantly the outcome from Dublin.

"When did I find out the result? Straight away in the dressing room," he says.

"I asked if the game in Dublin was definitely over, because in this group a game looked like it would go a certain way, only to change circumstances very late on.

"The teams below us were playing, but nothing has changed. We have to finish off our job, because we still don't have enough points for qualification."

While Irish players, sadly, head for their summer break with relegation to contend with, Lewandowski can bask in the glory of a Bundesliga title and a good personal season.

"Now I need a break, mentally and physically," says Lewandowski. "This is the fourth or fifth year where I scored 30-plus goals so I can be happy, but we charge the batteries and now we get ready for Germany in September."

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