Poland v Nigeria Preview | Five duels to watch in the battle of the Eagles

It is a first ever meeting between Poland, ranked seventh in the world by FIFA and Nigeria, ranked 50th in the world. Both national football teams are nicknamed Eagles; ‘Orly’ in Polish. So which Eagle will soar the highest on Friday at the sold-out 42,000 capacity Stadium in Wroclaw?

There are interesting duels to look forward to in this encounter starting with the most major between Poland’s captain and goal monger, Robert Lewandowski, and a young but confident and improving William Troost-Ekong.

Adam Nawalka likes to play three at the back to push his team forward while Gernot Rohr has most times deployed the 4-3-3 and its variations since he took up the Super Eagles’ job.

Lewandowski v Troost-Ekong

Lewandowski is the complete striker – good with both feet and precise with his head. He can work outside the box and is strong enough not to be bullied by any central defender. For Ekong, who has just 102 appearances as a professional defender, Lewandowski will prove a handful even though not all national teams going to Russia boast such an accomplished marksman. As Ekong continues to fine-tune his game in the Super Lig in Turkey, Friday’s duel with Lewandowski should show how far he can go and what areas he needs to improve on before June 16 when the Eagles tackle Croatia and Mario Mandzukic.

NameAgeClub AppearancesNational CapsClub GoalsNational Goals
Robert Lewandowski293109120551
William Troost-Ekong241031760

N.B – Club appearances refer only to league appearances.

Grosicki v Abdullahi [Ebuehi]

Grosicki is a fast, tricky, and direct winger, who will look to get to the byline before making his crosses. He is also quite skillful and proficient in taking pot shots from outside the box. Abdullahi must continually be in concentration mode because Poland would seek to start their counter with the fast Grosicki. Just as he keeps an Eagle eye on the winger, he must also look for ways to support the attack. A good test awaits the Bursaspor midfielder on Friday night.

NameAgeClub AppearancesNational CapsClub GoalsNational Goals
Kamil Grosicki292865520511
Shehu Abdullahi25832150

Gilk v Ighalo

If Ighalo wants to start a fight on Friday, he will find a ready opponent in Gilk, a brawny central defender, who can also show silky touch on the ball. Ighalo just started the season in China so may not be up to full match fitness, which means he must use more guile when he confronts Gilk. The Monaco defender is fast over the ground and loves to defend with his head, therefore, Ighalo must innovate and improvise if he wants to get good marks from this match.

NameAgeClub AppearancesNational CapsClub GoalsNational Goals
Kamil Gilk3028656224
Odion Ighalo2822815794

Zielinski v Ndidi

These two youngsters already boast burgeoning reputations so this duel should produce fireworks. While Zielinski will seek space to create goal-scoring chances for his forwards, Ndidi will be seeking to close any free space for which his defenders will be put in trouble.

NameAgeClub AppearancesNational CapsClub GoalsNational Goals
Piotr Zielinski2314529143
Wilfred Ndidi211101460

Zielinski v Ndidi

These two youngsters already boast burgeoning reputations so this duel should produce fireworks. While Zielinski will seek space to create goal-scoring chances for his forwards, Ndidi will be seeking to close any free space for which his defenders will be put in trouble.

NameAgeClub AppearancesNational CapsClub GoalsNational Goals
Grzegorz Krychowiak2824148142
Kelechi Iheanacho216114138

Nawalka v Rohr

These managers have the same agenda – doing well at the World Cup to fulfill national dreams and aspirations.

NameAgeNational GamesWinsLosses
Adam Nawalka6043236
Gernot Rohr641171

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Former footballer, passionate football enthusiast and analyst and a proud Nigerian.


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