Faces of Football

Faces of Football: Poland - a letter to the national team

90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min /
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Dear Polish national team, 

I’m a psychotherapist and climbing instructor who lives in Krakow. I have played and watched football ever since I was a small kid. 

What I remember most about those days was the anticipation for kick off before big games, and the tension when the players walked out of the tunnel.

As a kid I always backed myself to predict the scoreline of every game - even the goalscorers and everything.  My predictions were usually quite flawed though as, no matter who they were playing, I would also pick Poland to win. 

This hindered a lot of my predictions as my childhood aligns with a rather grim period for the Polish national team. The 1990s weren’t the best of times to be a Poland fan as we endured disappointment after disappointment. My clearest early memory of watching the team was during the 1998 World Cup qualification campaign, when Italy beat us 3-0. 

One happy memory however was Marek Citko’s goal at Wembley to put Poland 1-0 up against England…we did lose the game but it was still a nice moment. I vividly remember watching games with my two older brothers and my dad, and remember feeling that these moments together cheering on our nation were important.

There were many memorable moments watching Poland together, but I think the best was when Poland and Ukraine jointly-hosted Euro 2012. That was something I’d dreamt about as a kid - even if we didn’t perform particularly well at the tournament. 

I believe we have a really good team now who can make a mark at major tournaments, Piotr Zielinski is my favourite player at the moment due to his effortless control of the football, and he finally looks ready to lead the midfield after a few years of underperformance at international level. 

I’m going to watch this tournament with my friends and family and hope that we can handle the stress together. I’m sure we can make it out of our group this year, but every little win will be greeted with huge celebrations which I’m sure will last long into the night. 

My only advice to the team is that they believe in themselves and fight from the first minute to the last. 

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