Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

Poland crowns a new champion

FOR the first time in 28 years, a new name has been engraved upon Poland’s football championship trophy. Piast Gliwice, a team from Upper Silesia, have won their first ever title, outshining reigning champions Legia Warsaw, who had won the Ekstraklasa in five of the last six seasons. Piast finished four points ahead of Legia, clinching the title on the last day when beating Lech … Continue reading Poland crowns a new champion

Pact men – the USSR and its friends

THE collapse of communism and the plethora of velvet revolutions across Europe undoubtedly diluted the strength of the old Eastern Bloc and its acolytes. We feared the technique, strength and organisation of the state-run footballing machines, but once the Red Army retreated and the busts tumbled from their plinths, Warsaw Pact football was all but bankrupt. While genuine honours were largely elusive – the USSR … Continue reading Pact men – the USSR and its friends

Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

Gornik and Lokomotiv show that it’s not all business as usual

EACH year, the pundits hope for something different to talk about. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund started the season on fire, Bayern looked a little rusty. A new name on the Bundesliga shield? Then Bayern sacked Carlo Ancelotti, brought back Heynckes and Dortmund slipped up. Look at the top….it is Bayern, and they are three points clear. Crisis in Munich over. Paris St. Germain are going … Continue reading Gornik and Lokomotiv show that it’s not all business as usual

Poland: From Silesia with hope

ANYONE who remembers the 1974 World Cup will always have a soft spot for Poland, certainly not because they knocked England out in the qualifying group in 1973, but for the way the expressive Poles played when they got to West Germany and how their football, played by such talents as Kazi Deyna and Grzegorz Lato, helped light up the competition. For many reasons, Poland … Continue reading Poland: From Silesia with hope

Warszawa – a long way from low

WARSAW is a city that is still haunted by the past – in many ways. Arguably no other city suffered as much as Poland’s capital during World War Two and around 80% of its buildings lay in ruins in 1945. An astonishing 90% of Poland’s Jews were killed in the holocaust – some three million people. In fact, Poland lost 20% of its entire population … Continue reading Warszawa – a long way from low

The Dutch case is compelling

OUTSIDE the so-called “big five” leagues (England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy), the Netherlands’ Eredivisie appears to be the most successful European domestic competition. The latest paper from Football Benchmark takes a look at four leagues from the next level of the European game: the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal and Poland. Even in the glory days of Cruyff and co. Dutch football was watched by lower … Continue reading The Dutch case is compelling

Warsaw shouldn’t forget Gwardia, Poland’s European pioneers

In the past few weeks, the Polish capital, Warsaw, has been marking the 60th anniversary of the completion of the iconic Palace of Culture and Science, a monstrous building that dominates the city. It’s one of the iconic symbols of the city and was based on the Moscow skyscrapers of the 1950s. 1955 also marked the start of the European Cup and in that first … Continue reading Warsaw shouldn’t forget Gwardia, Poland’s European pioneers

Poland’s restriction could set a precedent

Polish football could set a new trend after its decision to pass the draft proposal to limit the number of foreign players per team in its top division next season. Poland’s football federation, PZPN, is placing restrictions on non-EU players in that only three can be on the pitch at any one time. This won’t stop Polish clubs from signing as many overseas players as … Continue reading Poland’s restriction could set a precedent

Poland: Whatever happened to the likely Lodz?

With England about to play Poland this week, a fixture that has become almost a staple of World Cup and European Championship qualifiers (13 meetings since 1986), Polish football comes into view once more. The media claim that there will be 20,000 Poles at Wembley, many of whom live in Britain, and this is for a team that has crashed out of contention for a … Continue reading Poland: Whatever happened to the likely Lodz?

40 years ago, the light started to fade

Malcolm Allison, the wayward, some might say eccentric, Manchester City coach, said the period between 1967 and 1972 was the last golden age of English football. Allison, whose team was one of the leading lights during those years, was talking about the post-1966 era when the game received a boost as the nation celebrated England as World Champions. But it was also a period in … Continue reading 40 years ago, the light started to fade

UEFA hope for Ukraine after Poland polka out

One-down, one to go. Poland really blew their host nation status, turning in a poor performance against an average Czech Republic team to tumble out of Euro 2012. They failed to win a single game and as a result the two underdogs from Group A – the Czechs and Greeks – go into the quarter-finals. It’s a pity, because the heart of Euro 2012 has … Continue reading UEFA hope for Ukraine after Poland polka out