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Poland predicted lineup vs France

Poland face France on Sunday afternoon in their first World Cup round of 16 tie since 1986.

When asked what Poland’s World Cup aims were ahead of the tournament, manager Czeslaw Michniewicz answered: “We joked that it would be appropriate to spend Barborka and Saint Nicholas Day in Qatar. That is our goal because it would mean that we got out of the group.”

Barborka, or Miners’ Day, falls on 4 December, the same day as Poland’s knockout tie with the defending world champions.

Here’s the lineup Michniewicz may deploy to ensure his squad can celebrate Saint Nicholas Day – 6 December – in Qatar as well.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski has the third-most goals by a European player at men’s international level, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Ferenc Puskas / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

GK: Wojciech Szczesny – The penalty-saving hero of the group stages made the 26th rebuttal of his senior career against Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

RB: Matty Cash – The Slough-born fullback is what is known as a farbowane lisy, a dyed fox, in Poland; a foreign-born international.

CB: Kamil Glik – Although Glik is currently plying his trade in Serie B with Benevento, the veteran centre-back will know the threat of France’s forwards all too well after spending four years in Ligue 1 with Monaco, winning the title in 2017.

CB: Jakub Kiwior – After featuring for the national team at every age group between 18 and 21, Kiwior only made his senior bow this year.

LB: Bartosz Bereszynski – One of nine Serie A players in Poland’s squad – which contains just three internationals based in the country’s top flight, none of which have started a game yet.

CM: Grzegorz Krychowiak – Developed into the combative and sporadically creative midfielder Michniewicz rarely overlooks in Bordeaux’s academy.

CM: Krystian Bielik – The Derby County midfielder is the only player currently plying his trade in the third tier of any nation’s footballing pyramid to have started a match at this World Cup.

AM: Piotr Zielinski – His parents have fostered children for 20 years and Zielinski continued the family tradition when he recently bought two buildings which have been renovated into children’s orphanages.

RW: Przemyslaw Frankowski – A member of the provisional squad which went to Russia before getting cut, Frankowski made the final 26 this year.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – The Barcelona forward’s father chose ‘Robert’ – compared to more traditional Polish options (see above) – so an international audience would be able to recognise and pronounce his son’s name.

LW: Jakub Kaminski – Made his international debut under Paulo Sousa but had to wait until Michniewicz – who gave Kaminski a place in the under-21s – took charge to get back into the squad.

Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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