England will have its hands full—well, feet, really—when it travels to Warsaw to take on Poland in a World Cup qualifier. I don't expect the Three Lions will return home with a win.
I'm calling the upset, folks. Now, I know what you're thinking:
But Tim, Poland has just win against England in 17 matches. Jakub Blaszczykowski and Wojciech Szczesny are injured and won't play. Lukasz Piszczek and midfielder Eugen Polanski might not play as well. And the English squad has more talent and depth on the roster.
I can't deny any of these things. All are true, and all bode ominously for the Polish. What can I tell you?
When it comes to predictions, I like to live dangerously.
And get this, dear readers—Yahoo's Eurosport primer notes that England has only managed a draw in four of its last six matches in Poland. Plus, ignore the disappointing Euros and Poland has won its last five home games and maintained seven consecutive clean sheets.
This is no vacation for the Three Lions.
It gets even more interesting. Poland comes into this game highly motivated and could really use three points. After a surprising tie against Montenegro, the Polish are third in Group H with four points. Beating England—or at least salvaging a point—would be absolutely huge.
And head coach Waldemar Fornalik certainly believes his side can win (via Jonathan Fowler of AFP):
"The two teams are going to be fighting for three points," he said.
"There was a wise man who said that if you go in aiming to draw, you're going to lose, but if you're planning to win, it's possible to draw," he said.
"We mustn't forget that if perhaps we haven't succeeded for years against England, there was a problem. Now the approach is very different.
"It's not enough to say we must win, we must win, we must win. What it comes down to is going out and doing the best we can, and in fact we can actually be victorious," he added.
This is still a side with a lot of talent. Not having Blaszczykowski hurts, but if Piszczek and Polanski can go it's a huge boost for Poland.
Plus, we haven't even mentioned dangerous striker Robert Lewandowski. You can bet he'll be extra motivated to score on keeper Joe Hart, who brilliantly helped Manchester City earn a 1-1 tie against Lewandowski's Borussia Dortmund in Champions League play.
Don't underestimate the impact Lewandowski can have on this game. There's a reason just about every top club in Europe has interest in the striker.
So yes, I believe Poland is capable and will at least earn a tie in this contest. I concede that predicting a Polish win is probably a stretch, but I don't think England will leave Warsaw with three points.
England too will be living dangerously on Tuesday.
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