Scalping the World champions on their raucous home patch in Warsaw will count for little unless Poland pick off Georgia this evening, according to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Adam Nawalka’s side sent scorch marks through the Euro 2016 Group D landscape by seeing off Germany, the precursor to them assuming top spot with Ireland after three games by drawing against Scotland four days later.
This evening’s task in Tbilisi brings with it an altogether different challenge for the visitors against a nation still bruised from back-to-back defeats to Ireland and Scotland.
Although Temuri Ketsbaia saved his job by seeing off minnows Gibraltar 3-0 in their last game, the qualification ambitions of Georgia have been replaced by the motivation to discommode the jaunt towards France for prospective qualifiers from the pool.
The powderkeg setting inside the Boris Paichadze Stadium arena that greeted Martin O’Neill and his players for the campaign opener isn’t expected to be so prevalent tonight, yet the Poland players have cited the state of the pitch as the enemy rather than local fans.
“Georgia’s pitch is not the best,” noted the Gunners stopper. “My team-mates have asked me what we can expect against Georgia and I’ve told them how difficult some of my colleagues at Arsenal found Tbilisi.
“France managed only a scoreless draw while Spain needed a very late goal to win in recent campaigns. Georgia will not be nice to play against and make it hard for us to score. Both Ireland and Scotland only beat them by one goal.”
Poland’s captain and main striker Robert Lewandowski didn’t snatch a goal in the last two fixtures to add to the four he bagged against Gibraltar but his contribution at centre-forward was nonetheless stellar.
Georgian defender Guram Kashia has pinpointed the Bayern Munich striker as their main threat and one he’ll be responsible for nullifying. “Lewandowski is definitely one of the best strikers in the world,” claimed the Vitesse veteran. “A player like him can always cause trouble in our penalty area. ”
For Lewandowski’s part, his trademark pre-match lethargy was to the fore is summarising the test ahead.
He said: “I’m sure Georgia will sit back to defend, trying to catch us on the break with even one chance. We cannot let that happen.
“This will be a difficult match on a difficult terrain but once we do our jobs, the win is there for us to show that that the victory over Germany was not a one-off.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved