England’s win against San Marino was a simply routine affair. The minnows from Northern Italy had little in the offing, the fact they mustered a shot at goal was an embarrassment in itself. The 5-0 scoreline seemed to be one-over-par on the golf-course that seems to be a par six; 6-0 is the genuinely accepted tally teams should aim for against the Sammarinese.
England have their captain available while Poland will however have to make do without theirs. While many point to the obvious talents of Robert Lewandowski as the main hub of threat from a double pronged Polish-Dortmund connection but the absent Jakub Blaszczykowski may play a bigger role in the overall result of the game.
Suffering from ligament damage to his ankle his absence is an absolute blessing for England as the man they call ‘Kuba’ is a prodigious talent with mental strength to rival the entire of England’s first team squad.
During Euro 2012, while Robert Lewandowski was hailed as the darling of the Polish team; tall, dark, charismatic, handsome and ruthless in front of goal; Kuba instead was the symbol for Polish defiance. That they would refuse to wilt away easily in their home competition where they were considered the worst team by some distance.
His biography gives you the clues toward this portrayal. The nephew of former Poland captain Jerzy Brzeczek he suffered a family tragedy at the age of 10. Essentially orphaned he moved in with his grand-mother and gave up football.
After being persuaded by his uncle to take football back up with his local club he signed on at Gornik Zabrze. In search of competitive football a move to KS Czestochowa in Poland’s fourth tier earned him a move to Wisla Krakow before arriving at Borussia Dortmund five years ago.
Giving his dynamic and fast approach play; and the way England struggled with similar players Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konopliyanka of Ukraine his absence gives England a huge advantage ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.
With Ukraine drawing away to Moldova Roy Hodgson’s side can gain a foothold on the Group with a positive result in Warsaw. The absence of a man named among Europe’s top 32 players last season who is also Poland’s inspirational captain could be the difference between one, three or no points against The White Eagles.
Here is his memorable goal in front of an impassioned home crowd at Euro 2012…
What do you think of the importance of Kuba’s absence?