Football: Poland face tough Nations League group

Poland will compete with the Netherlands, Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina in League A Group 1 of the upcoming 2020/21 season of the UEFA Nations League competition.

Poland will start their new campaign after the Euro 2020 tournament in June-July this year.

The group phase of the Nations League is scheduled for the following dates: September 3-5, September 6-8, October 8-10, October 11-13, November 12-14 and November 15-17. The finals of each group will take place between June 2-6, 2021.

Jerzy Brzęczek, the Polish team’s coach will attempt to improve on his country’s last Nations League performance, after finishing bottom of the group behind Italy and Portugal. His team would have been relegated had it not been for the revamp of the competition’s structure. However, he has always argued that the Nations League acted as training prior to the Euro 2020 qualifiers, as he wanted to use the tournament to shape his team.

Failing to qualify for two consecutive major tournaments, the Netherlands have been been dramatically revived, with the likes of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, Juventus central back Matthijs de Ligt and the core players of the top European club, Liverpool: Virgil Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum. They were runners-up in the previous Nations League, succumbing to Portugal in the final.

Poland faced Italy in the last edition of the tournament. In Bologna, the Poles came away with an admirable 1:1 draw, yet Italy outclassed the Poles in the second leg in Chorzów, although the result (0:1) didn’t reflect the Italians domination. Just like the Netherlands, Italy has been undergoing a generational transition and currently the younger players have taken on a key role.

In theory, Bosnia and Herzegovina should be the easiest opponent although never to be underestimated. Led by the experienced striker Edin Dzeko, whose international stats match those of Robert Lewandowski, and the Juventus playmaker Miralem Pjanić, they still have some outstanding quality. Yet, their squad lacks balance, as in three out of their last four games, one of the starters was Adnan Kovacević, a defender from Polish club Korona Kielce who are struggling desperately against relegation from a league currently 29th in the UEFA ranking.