Poland Euro 2012 Roster: Analysing Team's Starting 11 and More
As Euro 2012 draws closer, Bleacher Report continues its extensive, in-depth coverage of the tournament and teams competing.
Poland are the co-hosts of the tournament and expectant home fans will be watching on with intrigue as one of their most talented crops in recent years takes to the field.
Who will line up for "Biało-czerwoni" in the opening match against Greece?
Let's take a look at their squad and who their key players are.
Enjoy the slideshow!
Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal FC), Przemysław Tytoń (PSV Eindhoven), Grzegorz Sandomierski (KRC Genk)
The clear first choice is Arsenal's No. 1 Szczesny. He is the North London club's star 'keeper and this tournament will only enhance his abilities and experience
Arsenal's second choice, Lukasz Fabianski, has missed the tournament due to injury—despite playing well in both training and warm-up matches.
Sandomierski was called up on an emergency basis and will therefore play as the third-choice 'keeper.
Sebastian Boenisch (SV Werder Bremen), Marcin Kamiński (KKS Lech Poznań), Damien Perquis (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Marcin Wasilewski (RSC Anderlecht), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warszawa), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (KKS Lech Poznań)
Poland are far from being considered star-studded in defence, although they do boast one of the best right-backs in world football in Borussia Dortmund's Piszczek.
The rest of the back line has seen more convincing days and the spots are really up for grabs. Franciszek Smuda experimented heavily with the defence during his two years of friendlies.
Perquis has done well to come back from a broken elbow and his goal during a recent friendly against Slovakia may have nailed down his spot.
Starters: Boenisch, Wojtkowiak/Wasilewski, Perquis, Piszczek
Jakub Błaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Dariusz Dudka (AJ Auxerre), Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor), Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895), Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor AŞ), Rafal Murawski (KKS Lech Poznań), Eugen Polanski (1. FSV Mainz), Ludovic Obraniak (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Maciej Rybus (FC Terek Grozny), Rafał Wolski (Legia Warszawa)
Poland will likely utilise a five-man midfield, leaving room for just one solitary striker.
This would be a wise choice by coach Franciszek Smuda as his team genuinely isn't the strongest in the tournament. Nevertheless, as host nations, they must avoid embarrassment and secure qualification from the group stages by keeping it tight and organised.
The strength of Poland's right side continues here as Blaszczykowski mans the right wing and provides a fantastic, versatile option.
Dudka is one of the most experienced players in the party and will turn out in central midfield alongside Polanski. The third central midfield slot is up for grabs, but Wolski—a late and surprise addition to the squad—probably isn't in contention.
Finally, Bordeaux winger Obraniak is their strongest option on the left flank.
Starters: Obranik, Dudka, Mierzejewski, Polanski, Blaszczykowski
Paweł Brożek (Celtic FC), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Sobiech (Hannover 96)
The first-choice striker is as easy as the goalkeeping situation, as current hotshot Lewandowski will lead his countries front line without doubt.
The Polish forward has been on fire this season, netting 30 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions.
Current leading scorer Ebi Smolarek has been omitted from the squad, leaving Brozek and Sobiech to fight it out for the title of "impact substitute."
With the lack of quality beyond the Dortmund front man, Poland should go with one up top.
Poland's captain fantastic is Jakub Blaszczykowski.
Rare it is to find such an important and integral piece of a squad playing on the right wing, but this man has endless energy, pace and commitment.
He's not a silky player by any means, and Jurgen Klopp's excellence at Borussia Dortmund might just make him appear better than he actually is, but there's no doubt a consecutive Bundesliga title winner can make the difference.
His direct, forceful nature makes him a threat to any left-back in world football.
Michal Kadlec of Czech Republic will be a tough nut to crack, but Greece and Russia both remain weak at the left-back position.
The Borussia Backbone
It's obvious where Poland's key strengths lay.
Franciszek Smuda should send Jurgen Klopp a gift hamper, as the German has sculpted Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski and Lukasz Piszczek into fine footballers.
Poland will have a wonky spine during the European Championships, as the Polish right flank is one of the strongest in the tournament.
Robert Lewandowski is one of the hottest strikers in world football right now and will be one to watch.
Poland have a genuine chance of making it out of Group A. Their opponents are Czech Republic, Greece and Russia.
Russia will be the favourites but have lost key defender Vasily Berezutsky to injury. Greece are seen as a walk-over by most in Europe, meaning the "Biało-czerwoni" are in a straight fight with the Czechs for second in the group.
Czech Republic have a solid base in Petr Cech—perhaps the most in-form goalkeeper in world football—but will be limited once again when it comes to attacking prowess.
It will be an intriguing battle and the group could even see Poland emerge as winners. It's almost too close to call, but I'll go with:
Fantasy Football Stars
If your looking for fantasy football stars, look no further than Robert Lewandowski.
Having scored 30 domestic goals this season in the Bundesliga, there's no better value when taking a punt. With Greece considered weak, he's a good shout for captaincy (double points) in the first gameweek.
Russia are dangerous, so Polish defenders are not a good shout in that game, but a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic is far from inconceivable. Lukasz Piszczek is worth a shot here as he could chip in with an assist too.
Finally, Ludovic Obraniak is a low-key player with big-impact potential. He'll be cheap and worth a go. Any winger providing for Lewandowski's towering frame is worth a gamble.