Poland made a stunning start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign after thrashing Gibraltar 7-0 with Robert Lewandowski being the pick of the bunch. The opposition were playing at home, but Poland came into the match as favourites due to the overwhelming strength of this professional team. In contrast, Gibraltar were able to call upon only two players who have been playing as professionals. They included Preston North End’s Scott Wiseman and Israeli side Bnei Yehuda’s Liam Walker. The gulf in quality showed throughout the encounter, as Poland comfortably brushed aside the opponents.
However, Poland coach Adam Nawalka will be aware that far greater opposition await them in this qualifying campaign. They start with a tough match against Germany at home, while they are up against Scotland three days later in October. These two home games will go a long way into determining the outcome of this qualifying campaign. Getting anything more than four points will be seen as a huge success for the Polish team, who have not been a major fixture at international tournaments of late. The presence of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski will be a major boost for Poland and he did not disappoint in the opening qualification match after scoring four goals.
All of his goals came in the second half, while Grosicki helped himself to a brace in the match. Szukala scored the other goal in this comprehensive victory. After a string of impressive performances with Arsenal at the start of the season, Wojciech Szczesny was in goal for the Polish and this saw Artur Boruc dropping to the bench. The victory against Gibraltar was far more important considering that one of their main rivals for the qualifying positions, Scotland, lost in the opening match. Three teams have taken a win from the opening round of fixtures. They include Germany and Republic of Ireland aside from Poland.
The USA team reached the round of 16 which was far more than what was expected. The American side was pitted in a difficult group where they had to play against: Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Getting past the group stages of the 2014 World Cup was a tough task to accomplish but the team of Jurgen Klinsmann managed to do it as they secured the 2nd place of group G with 4 points which was the same amount of points that Portugal had but USA had better goal difference.
When the 2014 edition of the World Cup was over, Jurgen Klinsmann received a mix of negative and positive feedback towards the decisions he made during the already concluded World Cup.
Landon Donovan was surprisingly left out of the squad and the veteran attacker did not hesitate in letting his voice be heard as he went on saying that Klinsmann got the tactics all wrong.
Donovan spoke to the media a day after USA was eliminated from the World Cup as he praised the work that his colleagues made throughout the entire tournament but criticized the formations and playing style that Jurgen Klinsmann opted to go with.
“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday. I think the most disappointing is we didn’t seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint. I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.”
“It’s a results-oriented business, and so, results-wise, you can hold your head high. But, if you really look at the performances, there were some good performances by guys, some not-so-good performances by guys. As a whole, I think tactically, the team was not set up to succeed.
Despite receiving negative feedback from Landon Donovan, the American squad managed to get past the group rounds of the World Cup which was something that not many people were expecting and recognized figures such as Diego Simeone and Pep Guardiola praised the work of Jurgen Klinsmann as they stated that the German coach has ‘’ revolutionized football in the United States’’.