Poland’s Lewandowski the last of a dying breed? (Team Profile)

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Warsaw, June 7 (IANS) Robert Lewandowski, Poland’s 29-year-old goal scoring machine means a lot to the Polish national football team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup but he might also be the last of dying breed.

Numerous centre forwards like Gerd Muller, Gabriel Batistuta and Didier Drogba, have had memorable performances at World Cups and now the Poles are here to take their legacies further, reports Xinhua news agency.

However with the development of the “shadow striker” or the “false 9” in modern football, a pure out-and-out striker has become much rarer.

Poland scored 28 goals in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Not only did Lewandowski save the team several times but veterans Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski also contributed immensely.

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In fact, Lewandowksi’s playing style means he needs the support of all his teammates.

Bayern Munich’s tall front man is already his country’s top goal scorer and he will be counted to lead the team in Russia.

Although he experienced a disappointing season in the Champions League with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski is still the biggest star in the Polish national team and one of the greatest strikers at the tournament.

However, there is a cloud hanging over the player.

According to media reports, the Pole wants to leave for a new challenge after four seasons at Bayern Munich. Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris St Germain are said to be interested in acquiring him.

If Lewandowski performs well he may also decide other centre forwards’ fate.

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Olivier Giroud of France and Mario Mandzukic of Croatia embody the classic “number 9” role that is in danger of disappearing from modern football.

Lewandowski could give other teams the confidence to go out and play this type of game. As it stands, having a target man who can hold up the ball well and bring his teammates into play could be a valuable tactic at this World Cup if only because so few teams are used to defending against it.

The other important player for Poland is Napoli’s young midfielder Piotr Zielinski. He scored four goals in this season’s Serie A.

Poland legend Zbigniew Boniek said the 24-year-old playmaker is “ten times stronger than Kevin De Bruyne”.

Placed in Group H, Poland have a good chance of advancing to the next round of the tournament.

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They would fancy themselves to beat Japan and Senegal and do what they have to do to get a point against a very strong Colombian team.

–IANS

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