Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

December 3, 2007

Poles like big challenges, says Beenhakker

Filed under: Poland — Ivan @ 2:26 am

Lucerne, Switzerland – Poland’s Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker said his team would be enjoying the challenge against Euro 2008 opponents Germany, Croatia and co-hosts Austria. “Germany are one of the best teams in the world, Austria are hosts and Croatia enjoyed a fantastic qualification but the Poles love big challenges,” he said. Poland have qualified for a European Championships for the first time and under 65-year-old Beenhakker have one of the most experienced coaches in the game. He became the Polish national team’s first foreign coach in July 2006 after Poland’s early elimination from the World Cup – when they also lost to hosts Germany in Dortmund. It was recently announced that his contract was being prolonged until after Euro 2008 for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, with a possibility it could be further extended if Poland make the finals in South Africa. Poland’s football reached its heights in the 1970s and early 1980s when the national team finished third at the 1974 and 1982 World Cups. Recent years have seen the national team in the doldrums, but the qualification campaign in Group A, where Poland left Portugal in second place, has raised hopes of a re-emergence of a new golden generation, especially as the country will be co-hosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine. Nine of the 24 goals in qualifying came from former Borussia Dortmund striker Ebi Smolarek, now in Spain with Racing Santander.Two other Poland internationals will know Germany well, Jakub Blaszczykowski at Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg’s Jacek Krzynowek.

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