A Guide to Football in Poland
Football in Poland is a major sport, and the Polish national team has a reasonable track record in both global and European competitions. The sport is played regularly by over 400,000 people in the country, and it is by far the most popular sport there.
The sport has a long and varied Poland football history in the country and has been played ever since the country was partitioned in the late 1800s. Although the Polish football system has been subject to investigations of corruption, it has still managed to remain extremely popular and provide the world with some of the most talented footballers and some very exciting Poland football as well.
The country has its own national leagues, and some of the top players in world football come from Poland. The national team has competed at eight FIFA World Cups, and three times at the UEFA European Championship.
Polish National Team
The Poland national team has competed since 1921 and has taken part in a wide range of events, with their first World Cup appearance coming in 1938. They have since played in seven more World Cups, with their best result being a bronze medal, coming twice during the so-called golden era of Polish national football.
They achieved this first in 1974 and then once again in 1982. Since then Poland Euro team has also competed in the European Championships, with their best result in this competition being a quarter-finals appearance in 2016. The country hosted this competition in 2012 alongside Ukraine.
The national team’s head coach is Jerzy Brzeczek, who has held the position for several years. The team has a wide fan base, and the fans are known to be very excitable. Although some have a bad reputation, with the fan groups being linked to organized crime syndicates, they are some of the loudest and most supportive fans in the world.
The Poland national team results has in in the Olympics, having won a gold medal at the 1972 games in Munich in Germany. They also achieved a silver medal twice, once in Montreal in 1976 and another in 1992 at the Barcelona games.
The national team plays their home matches at the Stadion Narrowly, which has a capacity of just under 60,000 people. The current captain of the Polish national team is Robert Lewandowski, who is their most capped player, having played over 100 games for the team, and their top goal scorer, with 61 to his name.
Best Poland Players
Lewandowski is a striker and plays for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga. He is known as one of the best strikers in the world and played for Munich’s rival team Borussia Dortmund before moving on a free transfer. He is currently the German top flight’s top foreign goalscorer, having scored more than 200 in total.
Other notable names in the Polish footballing world include the likes of Zbigniew Boniek, who played for the Polish national team from 1976-1988. He also played club football Poland in between 1973 and 1982, before moving to Italy to play for Juventus and then Roma. He has also managed several Italian football teams, along with the Polish national team in 2002. He is currently the president of the Polish Football Association and has been since 2012.
A Polish footballer who currently plays in the Polish topflight is Artur Boruc. He is a goalkeeper, and at the moment he plays for Legia Warsaw. He began his career in the lower leagues of the Polish football system and has moved around Europe between different clubs, most notably Celtic, where he played from 2005-2010, winning several pieces of silverware with the club.
Jakub Blaszczykowski is another player who is very prominent in the world of Polish football, currently the third top goal scorer from the country. He currently plays for the Polish national team, along with his club side of Wisla Krakow.
He won two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund and was named Polish Footballer of the Year twice in 2008 and 2010. He is the second most capped Polish player and has captained his national side at the 2012 European Championships, and appeared for them again in 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
Poland Tournaments and Leagues
In Poland, the topflight of football is called the Ekstraklasa and consists of 216 clubs battling it out to be crowned champions and not become relegated to the lower leagues. The season starts in July, ending in May or June of the following year.
The season takes a similar format to other football leagues, with teams playing 37 games each. The winner of the season takes a place in the Polish Super Cup, which is contested between them and the current holders of the cup, or the runners up if they won it themselves the previous year.
The most successful club in Poland is Legia Warsaw (read this – best football fans in Europe), a team that has won the title 14 times. They feature prominently in the Champions League and Europa League, and although they have never won these competitions, they have made several appearances in the quarter and semi-finals of each.
They have also won the Polish League Cup a record 19 times, making them the most successful Polish club in terms of that competition.
The team has a fierce rivalry with another Warsaw team, Polonia Warsaw. Out of the 78 matches, the teams have played, they have each won a total of 29 times. Aside from the top-flight of Polish football, there are also several leagues below.
The first of these is the one immediately below the Ekstraklasa (Polish Premier League), called Poland 1 Liga. There are 18 clubs in this league, with three teams going up to the Ekstraklasa upon promotion, and three being relegated to the Poland 2 Liga below.
Below the 2 Liga, there are four regional leagues, and below them, there are smaller leagues that allow for the younger teams and those that are not as financially flush as the teams in the top leagues to progress through the rankings and eventually reach the top if they are good enough.
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