Fizzled Out… Again

KaczorWarsaw city centre was an interesting place to be last night. After another lacklustre performance of excruciatingly bad proportions which saw Poland get a draw against hosts Austria, the denizens of Warsaw were surprisingly chirpy singing “Nothing’s happened, nothing’s happened, we still love you Poland”. The 1-1 draw effectively spells the end of the line for both teams as fellow group members Croatia and Germany look likely to progress into the next round.

Battered Defences
Poland were dismal in the first half which saw an eager Austria encamped in Poland’s half, battering Polish defences like an irate storm. Poland have goalkeeper Artur Boruc to thank that they didn’t go into half-time 3-0 or 4-0 down. As it happens, they did have Boruc, as well as lucky charm Roger Guerrero who popped up like a Brazilian magician to bag Poland’s first ever goal at the European Championships. Poland went into the break leading 1-0 but never truly deserved it.

Second Half Woes
Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker no doubt gave his players a roasting at half-time and the Poles came out looking more value for their money but Austria were hardly going to give up. Both teams had their chances but every Polish fan would admit that Poland have not yet turned up for the tournament and look a sorry shadow of the team that qualified for the Championships. Ebi Smolarek, Dariusz Dudka and Mariusz Lewandowski who have been so influential in previous games looked lost and ill at ease with the ball. It was end-to-end stuff but both teams looked feeble.

Kick in the Balls
RefWith 90 minutes on the clock Poland looked to have secured a surprise victory but when evil English referee Howard Webb awarded a highly spurious penalty to Austria in the 93rd minute 40 million Polish hearts sunk. Goodness knows what he was thinking and it was without doubt one of the poorest decisions Webb has made in his footballing career, but that is the stuff football is made of and Poland can hardly blame the referee for a terrible performance throughout.

Bye Bye Leo?
The worry now is that the Polish Football Association (PZPN) will make a knee-jerk decision and sack Leo Beenhakker for a pretty dreadful showing at Euro2008, although I think it more likely that Beenhakker will resign. That would spell disaster for the Polish side which has recently managed to pick itself up, dust itself down and begin to play with a better mentality despite Euro2008. On the other hand, Leo Beenhakker is still the only manager at Euro2008 NEVER to have won a game during either the World Cup or European Championships.


9 thoughts on “Fizzled Out… Again

  1. The first half hour was astonishingly dire, there’s no avoiding that. But if the same players who played so well in the build-up are playing so badly now, and are under the guidance of the same manager, then where’s the variable? What has changed?

    And as for ‘that’ penalty… the ‘infraction’ was very very minor, you’d see more aggressive shirt-pulling at a girls’ under-12 match in Surbiton. What was Webb thinking? There were a lot of players bouncing about in the area, the clock was a-ticking, emotions were running high… He’s supposed to be one of the best refs in the game, but he misjudged the whole incident badly, quite obviously. Errare humanum est, and so on, I guess. (Now I’m waiting for the lynch mobs to burn me out of my house, as a member of the traitor race. 😉 )

    But consider how much easier it seems to be to blame Webb and heap the calumny on him – rather than on the players & manager for another poor performance. No-one seems to be talking about how direly Poland played (again) for most of the match… Displacement of feelings, perhaps?

  2. Indeed, the whole of Poland seems to be saying “Death to the English scum” rather than blaming their own team. By the way, I heard an interview with Leo on Radio Euro and he said something to the nature of “I don’t believe it, the referee was fucking wrong and he doesn’t give a shit about what he did”. I couldn’t believe the fact that a national coach/manager used the words “fucking” and “shit” in public.

  3. why, in the face of the latest events, nobody starts talking about a in depth reform of the system in poland? I don’t know much about football but it seems they do have mini clubs for boys with professional coaches abroad, don’t they?the preparation of a real player starts there and not 5 weeks before championships.correct me if I am wrong.. couldn’t we invest in things like that???form what I know Boruc comes from one of such thing in Warsaw (???)

  4. Yes, the Szkoła Mistrzostwa Sportowego (SMS) (Schools for Sporting Excellence) were a great idea but not enough funding has meant that their influence on sport in negligible. A grass-roots type system needs to be put in place where the best talents (in regular schools) are nurtured and/or sponsored by the biggest clubs rather like in the Czech Republic.

  5. We’ll see about Leo. As it appeared today, he is ready to work more with our team. Next move belongs to PZPN. I hope they won’t act on a whim, listening to grunts of angry mob looking for blood.

  6. im not being funny or anything but leo hasnt done anything wrong, and the referee was fucking wrong when you think about it. who in their right mind would do that do anyone ffs?

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