Poland hopeful Lewandowski returns vs. Austria

Poland are hoping striker Robert Lewandowski will be fit for their Euro 2024 Group D match against Austria on Friday but are waiting for the green light from the medical team later in the day, coach Michal Probierz said on Thursday.

Lewandowski, Poland’s all-time top scorer, picked up a thigh injury in a warm-up friendly against Turkey last week, and though he was named on the bench against the Netherlands in their group opener on Sunday, he did not feature in their 2-1 defeat.

The team’s medical staff has been working hard to get him fit and he will be part of the final training on Thursday at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, the coach said.

“There is a big difference if you have best player in the world on the bench or you have him on the pitch,” Probierz told a news conference. “We will make a decision later today.

“I hope the decision is positive and I hope I can select him tomorrow. We still don’t know. They are warming up now. I am waiting for the medical team to take the decision.”

The 35-year-old Lewandowski is not the only one waiting to hear whether he will be deemed fit enough to play, with defender Pawel Dawidowicz also hoping to make the team after picking up an injury in the same friendly as his team mate.

“The medical team worked on the players until two in the morning. Practically all players will appear in training and a decision will be taken after that,” said the coach, who added he was not feeling any pressure.

“I can sleep all the time. I even slept in the car coming to this press conference,” he said.

Austria were also beaten in their tournament opener by France and Friday’s match in Berlin has become a must-win game if either side want to progress in the tournament.

Netherlands and France have three points while Poland and Austria are without any points. The top two automatically qualify for the knockout stage.

The best four third-placed teams across all six groups also advance. The Poles’ final group match is against France on June 25.

“It will be an aggressive match tomorrow. We have shown we can handle this aggressiveness [of the Austrians]. We want to play football tomorrow and we want to show that we can do it,” Probierz said.

“The most important thing is to identify the players that we have. I want them to be fully committed, represent the national team, represent 40 million people. I want the team to show character.”

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