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Saturday 16 December 2017

Irish football is bad for the eyes for confident Poland squad

Torino's Polish defender Kamil Glik AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO
Torino's Polish defender Kamil Glik AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO

AS A player who has spent the best part of a decade plying his trade in Spain and Italy, Polish defender Kamil Glik has acquired a taste for the finer things in life.

Unlike most of the Irish squad, some of these Polish players get a steady diet of European football and a Pole stands a good chance of winning the Champions League (Robert Lewandowski) or Europa League (two players still involved in the last eight).

But the Irish football scene leaves them cold. Aware that they will have the backing of a large Irish support in Dublin next Sunday night, confidence is seeping from the Polish camp in Warsaw this week.

drop

"If we win this match we can be 90% sure that we're going to the Euros, a win will open up the motorway to France for us as I don't think we will drop points to Georgia and Gibraltar," says Glik, a key man in defence for the Poles.

"So this match will decide whether it happens, or doesn't happen, for us, Sunday is a key game for us and for our rivals in qualification."

Irish players find it hard to pronounce the names of their Polish rivals (try saying Jodlowiec, Wawrzyniak and Maczynski at speed) but for the Poles, some things related to their opponents are best not known and forgotten.

"I privately watched the November game Scotland against Ireland and there were so many rough clashes between the players that I sometimes turned my eyes away as it looked terrible," says 27-year-old Glik, who has been in Italy since 2010, and is doing well for Torino this season, his fifth in Serie A.

brutal

"And this is what we expect during game in Dublin, a real fight, their style of play is bit more brutal than other national teams.

"What's more, this is the last chance for Ireland, so they will be very motivated and determined, they know they have to beat us if they want to qualify.

"From a football point of view we are better than them, the only thing is that we have to stand up to them with physical power."

Glik and his club (Torino) narrowly missed out on a place in the last eight of the Europa League, losing out to Zenit St Petersburg, but team-mates Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla) and Lukasz Teodorczyk (Dynamo Kiev, conquerors of Everton in the last round) are still involved, while Robert Lewandowski hopes to make up for a Champions League final defeat with Borrussia Dortrmund by going all the way this year with Bayern, club form which has boosted Polish confidence.

"We're coming into the game united as a group and confident that we can fulfil the dreams and ambitions of our fans," added Glik.

awaiting

"We are well-prepared as a group, and most of the players are playing for their clubs. We know a hard match is awaiting us but we also feel we can win it."

Dynamo's Teodorczyk got a vision of that to expect from Ireland in his club's clash with Séamus Coleman etc last week.

"Ireland like a battle, Sunday could be a real battle and that suits me," says the forward, who has scored three goals in his seven appearances for the national side so dar.

"Winning the game won't guarantee us anything so we have to just look to the next game.

"But certainly, the situation will be clearer after our meeting in Dublin and then we can see where we are in terms of qualification."

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