|Nickname(s)||Biało-czerwoni (The White and Reds)|
Orły (The Eagles)
|Association||Polish Football Association (PZPN)|
|Most caps||Robert Lewandowski (128)|
|Top scorer||Robert Lewandowski (74)|
|Home stadium||Stadion Narodowy im. Kazimierza Górskiego|
|Current||27 (23 December 2021)|
|Highest||5 (August 2017)|
|Lowest||78 (November 2013)|
| Hungary 1–0 Poland |
(Budapest, Hungary; 18 December 1921)
| Poland 10–0 San Marino |
(Kielce, Poland; 1 April 2009)
| Denmark 8–0 Poland |
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 26 June 1948)
|Appearances||8 (first in 1938)|
|Best result||Third place (1974, 1982)|
|Appearances||4 (first in 2008)|
|Best result||Quarter-finals (2016)|
The Poland national football team (Polish: Reprezentacja Polski w piłce nożnej) has represented Poland in men's international football competitions since their first match in 1921. The team is controlled by the Polish Football Association, the governing body for football in Poland.
Poland has competed at eight FIFA World Cups with their first appearance being in 1938 where they were eliminated by Brazil. The country's best result is a bronze medal which Poland won in 1974 and 1982, with this era being regarded as the golden era of Polish international football. At the UEFA European Championship, Poland's best result was a quarter-finals appearance at the 2016 tournament before losing to eventual champions Portugal. Overall, they have competed in four European Championships with their debut being in 2008. They were co-hosts of the 2012 edition, along with Ukraine. Overall, Poland's best ever result in international football tournaments was the gold medal won at the 1972 Munich Olympics, along with winning the silver medal on two occasions; at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The first Polish football clubs were Lechia Lwów (1903), Czarni Lwów (1903), Pogoń Lwów (1904), KS Cracovia (1906) and Wisła Kraków (1906). The Polish national federation, called the Polish Football Union (Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej, PZPN), was founded on 20 December 1919, in Kraków when 31 delegates elected Edward Cetnarowski as the first president. The PZPN joined FIFA in 1923 and UEFA in 1955.
In a similar fashion to other European states, football appeared in Poland in the late 19th century. In 1888 Prof. Henryk Jordan, a court physician of the Habsburgs and the pioneer of sports in Poland, opened a sports park in Kraków's Błonia, a large open space surrounding the demolished city walls of that town. The park, along with the Sokół society founded in 1867, became the main centres to promote sports and healthy living in Poland. It was Jordan who began promoting football as a healthy sport in the open air; some sources also credit him with bringing the first football to Poland from his travels to Brunswick in 1890. Other sources mention Dr. Edmund Cenar as the one to bring the first ball and the one to translate The Cambridge Rules and parts of the International Football Association Board regulations to Polish language.
On 14 July 1894 during the Second Sokół Jamboree in Lwów at the General National Exhibition a short football match was played between the Sokół members of Lwów and those from Kraków. It lasted only six minutes and was seen as a curiosity rather than a potentially popular sport. Nevertheless, it was the first recorded football match in Polish history.[note 1] It was won by the Lwów team after Włodzimierz Chomicki scored the only goal - the first known goal in Polish history.
This match precipitated the popularity of the new sport in Poland. Initially the rules and regulations were very simplified, with the size of the field and the ball varying greatly. Despite being discouraged by many educational societies and the state authorities, the new sport gained extreme popularity among pupils of various gymnasiums in Galicia. The first football teams were formed and in 1903–1904, four Lwów-based gymnasiums formed their own sport clubs: the IV Gymnasium for Boys formed a club later renamed to Pogoń Lwów, while the pupils of the I and II State Schools formed the Sława Lwów club, later renamed to Czarni Lwów. In the same season the Lechia Lwów was also formed. It is uncertain which of the clubs was created first as they were initially poorly organized; however, the Czarni Lwów are usually credited as being the first Polish professional football team. The following year, the popularity of the sport spread to nearby Rzeszów where Resovia Rzeszów was formed, while in the German-held part of Poland, the 1. FC Katowice and Warta Poznań were formed.
On 6 June 1906 a representation of Lwów youth came to Kraków for a repeat match, this time composed of two already organized teams, the Czarni and the team of the IV Gymnasium. Kraków's representation was badly beaten in both meetings (4-0 and 2-0 respectively). The same summer the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show set up camp at Kraków's Błonia, right outside of the traditional playground area and Jordan's garden. On 5 August 1906 the team of the Kraków-based Jan Sobieski Gymnasium played a match against the British and American members of Buffalo Bill's troupe, winning 1–0. The only goal scored by Stanisław Szeligowski was also the first goal scored by a Polish team in an international meeting. The success led to the popularisation of football in Kraków and to creation of the first Kraków-based professional football team, KS Cracovia - initially composed primarily of students of the Jan Sobieski Gymnasium. By the autumn of that year there were already 16 teams in Kraków, including Wisła Kraków (It is said that actually Wisła Kraków was the first professional football team and not Cracovia). In 1911, a Kraków-based Union of Polish Football for Galicia was formed and entered the Austrian Football Association. The union inspired the creation of a number of teams.
After the outbreak of World War I, most of the Galician football players, many of them members of either Strzelec or Sokół, joined Piłsudski's Polish Legions. The unit, fighting alongside the Austro-Hungarian Army, fought mostly in various parts of Russian-held Poland, which led to popularisation of the new sport in other parts of partitioned Poland. Eventually, Poland regained its independence in 1918 and football of Poland also officially began.
The first football federation was established on 25 June 1911 in Lwów as the Polish Football Union (Związek Polski Piłki Nożnej). After I World War members of PFU established on 20 December 1919 in Warsaw the Polish Football Federation (Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej). Two years later, they appointed Hungarian-born Jesza Poszony as the first coach of Polish national team. Poland would play its first official international match on 18 December 1921 in Budapest, where the side lost to Hungary 1–0. Their first international win would come on 28 May 1922 where they took on Sweden in Stockholm and beat them 2–1. Józef Klotz scored the first-ever goal for the national football team in that game. Poland qualified for their first ever World Cup in 1937 when they beat Yugoslavia 4–0 and lost 1–0 in the two qualifying matches and ensured their place in the 1938 World Cup in France.
During their debut in the World Cup, Poland was set to play Brazil, by then had not been a world football power. The Polish team – which had never before participated on such a level – was expected to lose the game against the South Americans. Thus, the defeat was not a sensation. However, all fans were surprised at the style with which the Poles played their lone game of the tournament. The White and Red got to the extra time, only then losing 5–6. Ernest Wilimowski, who played for Ruch Chorzów at the time, scored four of Poland's five goals, which to date is one of the most impressive individual performances in the history of the World Cup.
Poland played what would be their last international match before the outbreak of World War II against Hungary, the runners-up in the 1938 World Cup. The match stands out as an achievement as Poland defeated the strongly favored Hungarian side 4–2.
When the Wehrmacht invaded Poland in September 1939, all Polish institutions and associations were dissolved, including the Polish Football Association PZPN. The German occupying forces forbade Poles to organise football matches. Consequently, there was no national team.
Nine former national players were murdered by the German occupying forces. Three of them were killed in Auschwitz: Marian Einbacher, Adam Knioła (both Warta Poznań) and Antoni Łyko (Wisła Kraków). Stefan Fryc (Cracovia) and Bronisław Makowski (Wisła Kraków), who were both active in the resistance, were killed in mass shootings. Four Jewish players were murdered in Jewish ghettos: Józef Klotz, Zygmunt Krumholz (both Jutrzenka Kraków), Leon Sperling (Cracovia) and Zygmunt Steuermann (Hasmonea Lwów), brother of actress and Hollywood screenwriter Salka Viertel.
On 11 June 1946, following the aftermath of World War II, Poland played their first international friendly match, against Norway in Oslo, a 3–1 defeat. The biggest success in the early years after the war was the victory against one of Europe's best at the time, Czechoslovakia. Poland defeated their southern neighbors 3–1.
Poland suffered the worst defeat in the team's history on 26 April 1948 with a 0–8 loss to the Danish side. Poland would later erase that memory as they posted their second highest ever victory in Szczecin when they took down Norway 9–0 on 4 September 1963. The game marked the debut for Włodzimierz Lubański. He scored one of the goals in the game. Lubański became the all-time top scorer for Poland while playing from 1963 to 1980 scoring 48 goals in 75 appearances. This victory was surpassed on 1 April 2009 in Kielce when Poland defeated San Marino 10–0.
On 1 December 1970, Polish football history would change forever all due to one man. Kazimierz Górski was named head coach of the national team. His success with the team was evident from the start with a gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Górski would later lead the team to another medal at the 1976 Olympics where they captured silver. However, nothing matched the two bronze medals at the 1974 and 1982 World Cups — thus became part of Polish football history known to be the first Polish Golden generation.
Poland was not considered a major power on the international football scene before 1974. In qualifying for the 1974 World Cup in Germany, they surprised observers by eliminating England, quarter-finalists in 1970 and Champions in 1966. The core of the team had already won a gold medal in the Munich Olympics in 1972.
In their opening match of the 1974 World Cup, Poland met Argentina, a team that was appearing in their 6th World Cup. Within eight minutes Poland were up 2–0, Grzegorz Lato opened the scoring in the seventh minute and just a minute later Andrzej Szarmach doubled the lead. In the 60th minute, Argentina cut the lead in half when Ramon Heredia scored. Two minutes later, however, Lato scored his second, which turned out to be the winning goal as Carlos Babington gave Argentina their second in the 66th. The match finished 3–2 for Poland.
Poland thrashed Haiti 7–0 in their second game. The goals included a hat-trick from Szarmach and two from Lato. In their final match of the first stage, Poland met Italy, who finished second at the previous World Cup in 1970. Poland were already through to the Second Round but needed at least a draw to win the group. At half-time, Poland was leading 2–0 on goals from Andrzej Szarmach and Kazimierz Deyna. It was not until the 86th minute that Italy managed a consolation goal through Fabio Capello. This gave Poland their third consecutive win, which led them to win the group. In the second round, Poland first won 1–0 against a Swedish side, which had not conceded any goals in their first three matches. Lato scored the only goal of the game. Next was Yugoslavia, who had drawn with Brazil and Scotland and won 9–0 against Zaire in the first round. Poland was awarded a penalty in the 24th minute and took the lead when Deyna converted. Stanislav Karasi tied it up for Yugoslavia in the 43rd. Lato won it for Poland again when he scored in the 62nd, making the final score 2–1 in Poland's favour.
On 3 July 1974 came the game that could have sent Poland into the 1974 World Cup Final. They played against the eventual champions West Germany. It had rained all day long, the field was entirely flooded. Poland wanted the game postponed but the Austrian referee would not agree. The game went ahead. Poland needed a win to be in the final, a draw was enough for the Germans. But in the miserably wet conditions, Poland's speed was of no use since the ball would not roll as it does on a dry field. Gerd Müller scored the winning goal in the 76th minute for Germany. The whole country was crushed. Poland would end the amazing run with a 1–0 victory over Brazil in the third-place game. Lato scored the winning goal his seventh of the tournament crowning him the top scorer of the World Cup.
In qualifying, Poland denied Portugal their second World Cup appearance when in 1966 they had captured third place. Poland opened the World Cup against their rivals from four years prior and the current Champions, West Germany. This time the match ended in a 0–0 draw.
Grzegorz Lato continued his scoring ways with the only goal in the 1–0 win over African side Tunisia in the second game. In the final first-round match Poland met Mexico. Zbigniew Boniek playing in his first World Cup opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. The Mexicans drew level through Víctor Rangel in the 52nd minute, but four minutes later Kazimierz Deyna put Poland ahead once again. Then Boniek scored his second in the 84th to secure the 3–1 win.
In the second round, Poland met three South American teams. In 1974, Poland had played and won against both Argentina and Brazil, both teams would get their revenge this time around. First, Argentina beat the Poles 2–0 with two goals from tournament top scorer Mario Kempes. Poland then defeated Peru 1–0 with a goal from Andrzej Szarmach. In what was Poland's last match of this World Cup, Brazil opened the scoring in the 12th minute on a goal from Nelinho. Even though Lato equalized one minute before half-time, it was not to be for Poland: two goals from Roberto in the 57th and 62nd minutes wrapped up the 3–1 win for Brazil.
On 29 November 1980, a dispute between players and technical staff began at a hotel in Warsaw, ending in the Okęcie Airport. Following the incident, several players of the Poland national team were banned from international duty, also leading to the resignation of Ryszard Kulesza as head coach of the team. At the 1982 FIFA World Cup, Poland were drawn in a group with Italy, Cameroon and Peru. The first two games were consecutive 0–0 draws with Italy and Cameroon, but the final group game of the first round ended in a 5–1 win for Poland, meaning they would advance to the second round as group winners.
In the first game of the second round, Poland beat Belgium 3–0; with a hat-trick from Boniek securing him a classic performance in the match, but the player would also receive a yellow card in the following match. Nevertheless, Poland advanced as group winners to the knockout stage. However, Poland would eventually be stopped in the semi-finals, losing 0–2 to Italy and ending the dream of playing at the World Cup final once again; but also securing a place in the third place play-off. In the third place play-off, Poland beat France 3–2, with the game also being regarded as "the end of the golden era of Polish football".
In 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Poland finished top of the qualifying group; with 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat. Poland's biggest win of the qualifying phase was a 4–1 win over Greece, meanwhile Poland's biggest defeat was a 0–2 defeat to Belgium.
At the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Poland were drawn into a group with England, Morocco and Portugal. The first match was a 0–0 draw, and in the second match, beat Portugal 1–0. In the final group game, they lost 0–3 to England, but Poland still advanced into the knockout stage, as a result of Morocco winning 3–1 over Portugal. In the round of sixteen, Poland were eliminated after suffering a 4–0 defeat to Brazil.
After the "Golden Era" from the 1970s and 1980s, Poland suffered a severe drought in international football; they didn't qualify for three consecutive editions of the FIFA World Cup, failing to qualify in 1990, 1994 and 1998.
In 1990 World Cup qualifying, Poland finished 3rd in the qualifying group, behind Sweden and England, on 5 points with two wins, one draw and three defeats. They began qualifying for the 1990 edition with a 1–0 win over Albania, before defeats to Sweden (2–1) and England (3–0). Poland then drew 0–0 with England, lost to Sweden 0–2 and beat Albania 2–1 in their final game, but were 4 points behind England; thus failing to qualify.
In 1994 World Cup qualifying, Poland finished 4th in the qualifying group, behind Norway, the Netherlands and England. Poland began qualifying with 1–0 win over Turkey; followed by a 2–2 draw with the Netherlands, a 1–0 win over San Marino and a 3–0 win in the reverse fixture. Afterwards, Poland drew 1–1 with England, before a 0–3 defeat in the reverse fixture. Afterwards, Poland would then go on to suffer consecutive defeats, losing 1–0 and 3–0 to Norway, followed by a 2–1 defeat to Turkey and a 1–3 defeat to the Netherlands in the final fixture.
In Euro 1996 qualifying, Poland drew a qualifying group with Romania, France, Slovakia, Israel and Azerbaijan. Poland lost 2–1 to Israel in the first game, and would later record a 1–0 win over Azerbaijan and a 0–0 draw with France. Later, Poland lost 2–1 to Romania, beat Israel 4–3 and Slovakia 5–0, before consecutive draws with France (1–1) and Romania (0–0). Poland lost 4–1 to Slovakia in the penultimate qualifying game, and drew 0–0 with Azerbaijan in the final group game.
In 1998 World Cup qualifying, Poland finished 3rd behind England and Italy. They began qualifying with a 2–1 loss to England before a win over Moldova (2–1) and a 0–0 draw with Italy. Afterwards, they suffered successive defeats to Italy (3–0) and England (0–2). They won the next two games; 4–1 over Georgia and 3–0 over Moldova, with Andrzej Juskowiak scoring a hat-trick against the latter. The final game was against Georgia, with Poland losing 0–3.
During the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying. Poland was in a group with England, Sweden, Bulgaria and Luxemburg. Despite Poland being an underdog in the group, they surprised by finishing above favourited Bulgarians and winning two games against them. Poland was third and was tied in points with England but failed to qualify by goal differences.
Main article: 2002 FIFA World Cup Group D
Poland qualifying for the 2002 World Cup was significant, as it was Poland's first appearance at the World Cup finals since 1986. Poland's biggest win overall in the qualifying phase was a 4–0 win over Armenia, while Poland's biggest defeat was a 1–4 defeat to Belarus.
The Polish drew a group featuring South Korea, the United States and Portugal. The first match was played with South Korea on 4 June; with Poland losing 2–0. The second game was with Portugal on 10 June; which Poland lost 4–0, confirming its early elimination. Poland then played the United States in the final group game on 14 June; winning 3–1 with goals from Olisadebe, Kryszałowicz and Żewłakow. Despite the win, Poland finished last in the group, with a goal difference of –4 and 3 points.
Main article: 2006 FIFA World Cup Group A
Poland's qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup was overall successful; as they won eight and lost two, without a single draw. They finished behind England in the qualifying group; but as a result of being the second best second-placed team in the play-offs, they qualified automatically for the finals in Germany. The biggest win of the qualifying phase for Poland was an 8–0 victory over Azerbaijan, in which Tomasz Frankowski scored a hat-trick. The biggest defeat of the qualifying phase for Poland were two defeats against England, losing both home and away games by a scoreline of 1–2.
At the 2006 World Cup, Poland drew Germany, Ecuador and Costa Rica in Group A. Despite high hopes from the Polish press, media and fans, Poland's campaign at the World Cup was seen as an underachievement; as Poland lost two and won one game, finishing third in the group. Poland's first match was a 2–0 defeat to Ecuador, followed by a 1–0 defeat to Germany, with Oliver Neuville scoring a stoppage time winning goal; with the defeat to Germany, and following Ecuador's 3–0 win over Costa Rica, officially ending Poland's chances of advancing further than the group. The third and final group game saw Poland defeat Costa Rica 2–1; with Bartosz Bosacki getting on the scoresheet twice.
Main article: UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
In Euro 2008 qualifying, Poland were drawn into a group with Portugal, Serbia, Finland, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Poland's campaign began in uncomfortable fashion; suffering a 1–3 defeat to Finland on 2 September 2006 and then drawing 1–1 with Serbia on 6 September. In the third match, on 7 October, Poland won 1–0 over Kazakhstan, with Euzebiusz Smolarek scoring the goal. On 11 October, Poland beat Portugal 2–1 with Smolarek scoring the two goals. On 15 November, they beat Belgium 1–0. On 24 March 2007, Poland beat Azerbaijan 5–0, and on 28 March beat Armenia 1–0. On 2 June, they beat Azerbaijan 3–1 with Smolarek and Krzynówek (2) scoring. On 6 June, Poland lost 1–0 to Armenia, on 8 September drew 2–2 with Portugal, and on 12 September drew 0–0 with Finland. On 13 October, Poland beat Kazakhstan 3–1 with a hat-trick from Smolarek. On 17 November, they beat Belgium 2–0 with two goals from Smolarek, and on 21 November drew 2–2 with Serbia in the final qualifying game; thus qualifying for the tournament as the 1st place team in the qualifying group following Portugal's 0–0 draw with Finland, Poland's first ever Euro appearance.
Main article: UEFA Euro 2008
At UEFA Euro 2008, they were drawn in Group B; with Germany, Austria and Croatia. The opening match was against Germany on 8 June at the Hypo-Arena in Klagenfurt, a match that Poland lost 2–0 with two goals from Lukas Podolski. In the second game, Poland drew 1–1 with Austria; taking the lead through Brazil-born Roger Guerreiro, before conceding in the third minute of stoppage time following a controversial penalty. The final group game was against Croatia, which Poland lost 1–0, finishing bottom of the group.
Main article: 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group 3
In 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Poland were drawn in a group with Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and San Marino, and this has been Poland's worst qualifying campaign to date. Poland finished 5th in the group; just above San Marino, with 11 points. Poland began the campaign with a 1–1 draw against Slovenia on 6 September 2008. On 10 October, Poland beat San Marino 2–0. On 11 October, they won 2–1 against the Czech Republic. After these two wins, Poland lost consecutive matches against Slovakia (15 October, losing 1–2) and Northern Ireland (28 March 2009, losing 2–3). After these defeats, Poland recorded their biggest ever win, winning 10–0 against San Marino in which six different players scored, with Euzebiusz Smolarek scoring four goals, on 1 April 2009. On 5 September, Poland drew 1–1 with Northern Ireland and on 9 September, lost 3–0 to Slovenia. On 10 October, Poland lost 2–0 to the Czech Republic and on 14 October, lost 1–0 to Slovakia.
On 18 April 2007, in Cardiff, Poland and Ukraine were selected to host UEFA Euro 2012 by the UEFA Executive Committee. The bid defeated other bids made, including one from Italy and joint bids by Croatia and Hungary and Greece and Turkey; thus becoming the third successful joint-bid made to host the UEFA European Championship, after the Netherlands and Belgium in 2000, and Austria and Switzerland in 2008.
Poland were drawn into Group A; with Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic. On 8 June, the opening match played between Poland and Greece at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, ended 1–1, with Poland taking the lead in the 17th minute through Robert Lewandowski before Greece equalized in the second half through Dimitris Salpingidis in the 51st minute, and in the game, both teams went down to 10 men. Poland's next game was on 12 June, again played at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, with the game against Russia finishing 1–1, with Russia taking the lead through Alan Dzagoev in the 37th minute before Poland equalized through Błaszczykowski in the 57th minute. Poland's final game was against the Czech Republic, played on 16 June, at the Stadion Miejski, in Wrocław, where Poland lost 1–0 following a goal from Petr Jiráček. Poland finished bottom of the group, with just two points, prompted coach Franciszek Smuda to resign following the humiliating elimination.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group H
Poland was drawn in Group H of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying; with England, Ukraine, Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino.
On 7 September, Poland's first qualifying match ended in a 2–2 draw with Montenegro, with goals from Błaszczykowski and Mierzejewski. On 11 September, they beat Moldova 2–0 with goals from Błaszczykowski and Wawrzyniak. On 17 October, Poland drew 1–1 with England, with Glik scoring the equalizing goal. On 22 March 2013, Poland lost 3–1 to Ukraine, conceding two goals in the first seven minutes alone, with Piszczek scoring Poland's only goal. On 26 March, Poland beat San Marino 5–0, with a brace from Lewandowski, and goals from Piszczek, Teodorczyk and Kosecki. On 6 September, Poland drew 1–1 with Montenegro; with Lewandowski scoring the equalizing goal only five minutes after Poland initially conceded. On 10 September, they beat San Marino 5–1, with a brace from Zieliński, and goals from Błaszczykowski, Sobota and Mierzejewski. However, Poland lost the last two games against Ukraine and England; losing 1–0 and 2–0, respectively.
In UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, Poland were drawn in Group D; with Germany, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar.
On 7 September 2014, Poland beat Gibraltar 7–0, with Robert Lewandowski scoring four goals, Kamil Grosicki scoring two goals and Łukasz Szukała scoring one goal. On 11 October, Poland beat Germany 2–0, with Germany having won the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than three months prior, with goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Sebastian Mila. On 14 October, Poland drew 2–2 with Scotland, with goals from Krzysztof Mączyński and Milik not being enough to secure the three points. On 14 November, they beat Georgia 4–0, with goals from Kamil Glik, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Mila and Milik. On 29 March 2015, they drew 1–1 with the Republic of Ireland, with Sławomir Peszko; but conceded a goal from Shane Long in stoppage time. On 13 June, they beat Georgia 4–0; with a goal from Milik and a hat-trick from Lewandowski. On 7 September, they beat Gibraltar 8–1; with Grosicki, Lewandowski and Milik all scoring twice, and Jakub Błaszczykowski and Bartosz Kapustka. On 8 October, they drew 2–2 with Scotland, with Lewandowski scoring a brace. On 11 October, they beat the Republic of Ireland 2–1 with goals from Krychowiak and Lewandowski, securing automatic qualification for the Euros.
At the UEFA Euro 2016 finals, Poland were drawn in Group C; with Germany, Northern Ireland and Ukraine.
Poland's first match was with Northern Ireland, on 12 June at the Stade de Nice in Nice; a game they won 1–0 with a goal from Arkadiusz Milik in the 51st minute. The next match was with Germany at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on 16 June; with the finishing 0–0. Poland's final group game was with Ukraine on 21 June, at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, a game they won 1–0 with a goal from Jakub Błaszczykowski. In the round of sixteen, Poland were drawn to play Switzerland on 25 June at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne. Poland took the lead through a goal from Błaszczykowski, but conceded a bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri in the 82nd minute, finishing the game 1–1 in regular time. After even extra-time could not break the tie; Poland beat Switzerland in a penalty shootout, winning 5–4 on penalties. On 30 June, at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille played with Portugal in the quarter-finals of the tournament; a game in which Poland took the lead in the 2nd minute through a goal from Robert Lewandowski before conceding a goal from Renato Sanches in the 33rd minute. The match was 1–1 even after regular time and extra-time ended; thus taking the game to penalties. Poland lost the penalty shootout, losing 5–3 with Błaszczykowski having the crucial penalty saved.
In 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Poland were drawn in Group E; with Denmark, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
The opening match for Poland was against Kazakhstan on 4 September 2016, which Poland drew 2–2, taking a 2–0 lead through goals from Bartosz Kapustka and Robert Lewandowski, but they conceded two goals from Sergei Khizhnichenko in the second half. On 8 October, Poland beat Denmark 3–2 with Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick. Three days later, on 11 October, they beat Armenia 2–1, with goals from Lewandowski and an own goal from Hrayr Mkoyan. On 11 November, Poland beat Romania 3–0 with Kamil Grosicki and Lewandowski (2) scoring the goals. On 26 March 2017, Poland beat Montenegro 2–1 with Lewandowski and Łukasz Piszczek scoring the goals. On 10 June, Poland beat Romania 3–1 with a hat-trick from Lewandowski. However, on 1 September, they suffered a 4–0 defeat to Denmark, their first loss of their qualifying campaign. Three days later, they beat Kazakhstan 3–0 with goals from Arkadiusz Milik, Kamil Glik and Lewandowski. On 5 October, they trashed Armenia 6–1, with goals from Grosicki, Jakub Błaszczykowski, Rafał Wolski and a hat-trick from Lewandowski, who became Poland's record goalscorer in the match. Three days later, on 8 October, Poland officially qualified for the tournament with a 4–2 win over Montenegro; with goals from Krzysztof Mączyński, Grosicki, Lewandowski and an own goal from Filip Stojković.
Lewandowski scored 16 goals during qualifying; breaking the European qualifying scoring record, as well as becoming the all-time top goalscorer of Poland.
Poland played at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, their first World Cup since 2006, in Group H; against Senegal, Colombia and Japan. Despite the group being considered close, Poland were tipped as favorites to advance. In May 2018, Poland named the preliminary 34-man squad, and on 4 June, they named the final 23-man squad. The squad featured several notable players; such as elite striker Robert Lewandowski (playing at his first World Cup), VfL Wolfsburg's veteran midfielder Jakub Błaszczykowski, Monaco defender Kamil Glik (who suffered an injury two weeks prior to the start of the tournament), Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik and Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny.
However, despite all of this and despite being ranked 8th in the FIFA Ranking prior to the tournament, Poland's tournament was disappointing overall; they lost to Senegal in the opening match, losing 1–2 on 19 June in Moscow. Five days later, on 24 June, they lost to Colombia in Kazan, losing 0–3, which mathematically ended their hopes of qualifying from the group and on 28 June, beat Japan 1–0 in their final group game in Volgograd. Poland finished bottom of their group, and like their two previous performances in 2002 and 2006, got two losses and only won the last match.
The qualifying group stage draw was held on 2 December 2018 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. The 55 teams were drawn into 10 groups: five groups of five teams (Groups A–E) and five groups of six teams (Groups F–J). Ranked at No. 10 in Pot 1, Poland was drawn into UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group G. Group G consists of six teams: Austria, Israel, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland and Slovenia, where they will play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format.
The top two teams will qualify directly for the finals. Unlike previous editions, the participants of the play-offs will not be decided based on results from the qualifying group stage, but instead based on their performance in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League. In 2018, Poland was drawn into Group 3 in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League A, along with Portugal and Italy. Poland, which had not gotten out from the shocking 2018 World Cup nightmare, was relegated to League B with two home defeats and two away draws, only to be allowed to remain on League A following UEFA rule changes.
Despite this poor performance in the Nations League however, Poland opened their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying by a single-margin 1–0 win against Austria in Vienna thanked for Krzysztof Piątek. Three days later, Poland followed up their suit by beating Latvia 2–0 at home.
On Friday June 7, 2019, Poland defeated North Macedonia with an unimpressive 1–0 win by a lone goal from Piątek which made the team suffered criticism for its poor form in that win. On June 10, 2019, Poland put its best performance up to date in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualification, overpowering Israel 4–0 in Warsaw three days later with goal from Krzysztof Piątek, Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki and Damian Kądzior.
Poland continued its quest for UEFA Euro 2020 by a visiting game against minor Slovenia and was expected to grab total three points in Ljubljana due to Slovenia's unimpressive performance. Despite this, Poland's trip to Slovenia turned to be a complete nightmare, with the team suffered a humiliating 0–2 away defeat. A following 0–0 home draw to Austria meant that Poland's top spot had been under bank with Slovenia approached very quickly.
In October, Poland embattled two opponents, Latvia and North Macedonia, for its UEFA Euro 2020 quest. Poland managed a convincing 3–0 away win over minnows Latvia, eliminated the Latvians from the competition. Surprisingly, Slovenia's shock away defeat to North Macedonia relieved pressure for Poland, with Slovenia fell from second to fourth place, gave the Poles an upper hand to qualify. Eventually, Poland beat North Macedonia 2–0 at home, and with Slovenia fell hurdle to the Austrians at Slovenian soil, Poland qualified to the competition for the fourth consecutive participation history.
Being allowed to remain in League A, Poland was drawn against Italy, Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The performance of this tournament would be doubled as part of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification as playoff campaigns. Poland was also seeking its first win and a possible best finish in order to obtain a possible playoff position in case they could not directly qualify for 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Poland started their League games without Lewandowski. In their first match, an away game against the Dutch, the Poles disappointed with a 0–1 loss. Then, Poland had to make another away trip, this time against the tough Bosnian rival, which held Italy 1–1 away before and was better prepared with the arrival of Edin Džeko. However, Poland managed a comeback, from being a goal down, Kamil Glik and Kamil Grosicki turned the deficit to beat Bosnia 2–1, which was Poland's historic win in the Nations League. In October, Poland hosted Italy and Bosnia at home, and the Poles obtained four points, a goalless draw with Italy before an important 3–0 win over Bosnia with Lewandowski scoring 2 and Karol Linetty scoring 1, temporarily occupying top spot of the group. However, when matches resumed in November, Poland had to deal with more difficulties when they headed up against Italy away, and bowed down with a 0–2 defeat despite Italy had already been depleted by COVID-19 plague, thus Poland lost any chance to determine in their quest for the Final of the Nations League. With very slim opportunity, Poland gave up and lost to the Netherlands 1–2 at home, ending in third place and will stay in the same league for the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League season.
Poland played in June 2021 in Sevilla's Estadio de La Cartuja and St. Petersburg's Gazprom Arena, replacing the original Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The draw put Poland into against two very strong and difficult opponents, the hosts Spain and Sweden, alongside the winner of the Play-off Path B, Slovakia. The top two teams from each group would progress to the round of 16, along with the four best runners-up chosen among the third-placed teams. The tournament ended in yet another catastrophe for the Polish side — Poland started with a shock 1–2 loss to Slovakia, with Wojciech Szczęsny registered to the history in an unfabulous way as the first goalkeeper to score an own goal in the UEFA European Championship. Despite Robert Lewandowski's valiant efforts in the two other games, scoring three goals, including the one that gave Poland a famous 1–1 away draw to Spain, but a 2–3 defeat to Sweden marked the end of Poland in the tournament.
The official FIFA country code for Poland is POL. This abbreviation is used to identify the team in FIFA, UEFA, and other matches. The same abbreviation is also used under the International Organization for Standardization. "Polish national football team" can be translated into Polish as "Reprezentacja Polski w piłce nożnej". The team's nicknames include "Biało-czerwoni" which means "The white-reds" and "Orły" which translates into "The Eagles". These are the most common names given to the Polish national football team. In English, the team is also widely known as "The White Eagles", based on Poland's national coats of arms.
The national kits of Poland reflect the colors of the national flag which are white and red. Apart from minor details (in the 1920s the socks in the home kit were striped), the design remains unchanged since 1921. The home kit consists of a white shirt, red shorts and white socks; the away kit is all red (though sometimes worn with white shorts). On the rare occasions when both home and away kits clash with the opponent's, a colours third kit is available, usually in either black or blue (currently navy blue with white-red sleeves).
The kit has traditionally been adorned with the coat of arms of Poland, i.e. the crowned white eagle. Until 2006, the coat of arms featured only the inscription "POLSKA" in capital letters above the eagle, and not, as with many other national teams, the national football federation logo. The Euro 2012 kits were the first to feature the logo of the PZPN. When the kit was first launched it did not include the coat of arms but it was restored shortly thereafter. Since 2009, the kits have been provided by Nike.
See also: Football hooliganism in Poland
The Polish team enjoys widespread support in Poland and among Polish diaspora worldwide. Some fans of the team are reportedly fanatic and often violent, with connections to Polish organized crime syndicates. Supporters of the team have been involved in a number of incidents, such as during UEFA Euro 2012, held in Poland, when Polish and Russian supporters clashed prior to the encounter between the two countries' teams.
The notable chant among Polish fans is "Polska, biało-czerwoni" ("Poland, the White-Reds"). Styrmir Gislason, the head of the Association of Icelandic Football Fans stated that the Icelandic Viking thunder clap chant was inspired by Polish football chants.
Stadion Śląski in Chorzów was built in 1956 and seats 47,246 people. The record attendance came on 20 October 1956, when 100,000 fans witnessed a game between Poland and the Soviet Union, with Poland winning 2–1. This holds the record for the most spectators to watch Poland. The stadium was renovated to seat 55,211 and was reopen in October 2017. In 1993, the stadium was designated as the official home stadium of the Poland national team.
Over 100,000 fans witnessed a game at old stadium in Warsaw. A new Stadion Narodowy was constructed in Warsaw with an expected capacity of 58,580 seats. Following UEFA Euro 2012, it has been used as the venue for all qualifying matches and some friendly matches of the Poland national team.
Poland national football team plays selected matches at other major Polish stadiums, including:
Main article: Poland national football team results (2020–present)
|25 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Hungary||3–3||Poland||Budapest, Hungary|
|Report||Stadium: Puskás Aréna|
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)
|28 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Poland||3–0||Andorra||Warsaw, Poland|
|20:45 UTC+2||Report||Stadium: Stadion Wojska Polskiego|
Referee: Erik Lambrechts (Belgium)
|31 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||England||2–1||Poland||London, England|
||Stadium: Wembley Stadium|
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
|1 June 2021 Friendly||Poland||1–1||Russia||Wrocław, Poland|
||Stadium: Stadion Wrocław|
Referee: Marco Guida (Italy)
|8 June 2021 Friendly||Poland||2–2||Iceland||Poznań, Poland|
|18:00 UTC+2||Report||Stadium: Lech Stadium|
Referee: Balazs Berke (Hungary)
|14 June 2021 UEFA Euro 2020||Poland||1–2||Slovakia||Saint Petersburg, Russia|
||Report||Stadium: Krestovsky Stadium|
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (Romania)
|19 June 2021 UEFA Euro 2020||Spain||1–1||Poland||Seville, Spain|
||Stadium: La Cartuja|
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
|23 June 2021 UEFA Euro 2020||Sweden||3–2||Poland||Saint Petersburg, Russia|
||Stadium: Krestovsky Stadium|
Referee: Michael Oliver (England)
|2 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Poland||4–1||Albania||Warsaw, Poland|
||Stadium: PGE Narodowy|
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
|5 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||San Marino||1–7||Poland||Serravalle, San Marino|
||Report||Stadium: Stadio Olimpico de Serravalle|
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (Finland)
|8 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Poland||1–1||England||Warsaw, Poland|
||Stadium: PGE Narodowy|
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Germany)
|9 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Poland||5–0||San Marino||Warsaw, Poland|
|20:45||Report||Stadium: PGE Narodowy|
Referee: Fran Jović (Croatia)
|12 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Albania||0–1||Poland||Tirana, Albania|
||Stadium: Arena Kombëtare|
Referee: Clément Turpin (France)
|12 November 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Andorra||1–4||Poland||Andorra la Vella, Andorra|
|Stadium: Estadi Nacional|
Referee: John Beaton (Scotland)
|15 November 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Poland||1–2||Hungary||Warsaw, Poland|
|Stadium: PGE Narodowy|
Referee: Tiago Martins (Portugal)
|24 March 2022 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying||Russia||v||Poland||Moscow, Russia|
|Report||Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium|
|29 March 2022 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying or friendly||Poland||v||Sweden or Czech Republic||Poland|
Note: Kurt Otto (1936), Andor Hájdu (1954), Leo Beenhakker (2006-09) and Paulo Sousa (2021) are the only foreign coaches to have coached the Poland national football team.
|Kurt Otto (as a replacement for Kałuża)||1936-09-06|
|Andor Hájdu & Edward Cebula||1954-08-08|
The following 26 players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification games against Andorra on 12 November 2021 and against Hungary on 15 November 2021.
Caps and goals updated as of 15 November 2021 after the match against Hungary.
Caps and goals including all matches officially recognized by the Polish Football Association (also those not recognized by FIFA).
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Wojciech Szczęsny||18 April 1990||62||0||Juventus|
|12||GK||Łukasz Skorupski||5 May 1991||5||0||Bologna|
|22||GK||Kamil Grabara||8 January 1999||0||0||Copenhagen|
|2||DF||Matty Cash||7 August 1997||2||0||Aston Villa|
|3||DF||Paweł Dawidowicz||20 May 1995||8||0||Hellas Verona|
|4||DF||Tomasz Kędziora||11 June 1994||26||1||Dynamo Kyiv|
|5||DF||Jan Bednarek||12 April 1996||37||1||Southampton|
|6||DF||Michał Helik||9 September 1995||7||0||Barnsley|
|13||DF||Maciej Rybus||19 August 1989||66||2||Lokomotiv Moscow|
|14||DF||Robert Gumny||4 June 1998||2||0||FC Augsburg|
|15||DF||Tymoteusz Puchacz||23 January 1999||10||0||Trabzonspor|
|18||DF||Bartosz Bereszyński||12 July 1992||39||0||Sampdoria|
|DF||Kamil Glik (vice-captain)||3 February 1988||90||6||Benevento|
|8||MF||Karol Linetty||2 February 1995||40||5||Torino|
|10||MF||Mateusz Klich||13 June 1990||38||2||Leeds United|
|16||MF||Jakub Moder||7 April 1999||18||2||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|17||MF||Damian Szymański||16 June 1995||7||1||AEK Athens|
|19||MF||Przemysław Frankowski||12 April 1995||22||1||Lens|
|20||MF||Piotr Zieliński||20 May 1994||66||7||Napoli|
|21||MF||Kamil Jóźwiak||22 April 1998||22||3||Derby County|
|MF||Grzegorz Krychowiak||29 January 1990||86||5||Krasnodar|
|MF||Przemysław Płacheta||23 March 1998||7||0||Norwich City|
|7||FW||Arkadiusz Milik||28 February 1994||61||16||Marseille|
|9||FW||Robert Lewandowski (captain)||21 August 1988||128||74||Bayern Munich|
|11||FW||Karol Świderski||23 January 1997||14||6||PAOK|
|23||FW||Krzysztof Piątek||1 July 1995||21||9||Fiorentina|
The following players have been called up for the national team in the last twelve months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Radosław Majecki||16 November 1999||1||0||Monaco||v. Albania, 12 October 2021|
|GK||Łukasz Fabiański||18 April 1985||57||0||West Ham United||v. San Marino, 9 October 2021 RET|
|GK||Bartłomiej Drągowski||19 August 1997||1||0||Fiorentina||v. San Marino, 9 October 2021 INJ|
|GK||Karol Niemczycki||5 July 1999||0||0||Cracovia||v. England, 31 March 2021|
|DF||Arkadiusz Reca||17 June 1995||14||0||Spezia||v. San Marino, 9 October 2021|
|DF||Kamil Piątkowski||21 June 2000||3||0||Red Bull Salzburg||v. England, 8 September 2021|
|DF||Sebastian Walukiewicz||5 April 2000||3||0||Cagliari||v. Hungary, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|MF||Kacper Kozłowski||16 October 2003||6||0||Union SG||v. Albania, 12 October 2021|
|MF||Nicola Zalewski||23 January 2002||1||0||Roma||v. San Marino, 9 October 2021|
|MF||Jakub Kamiński||5 June 2002||1||0||Lech Poznań||v. England, 8 September 2021|
|MF||Bartosz Slisz||29 March 1999||1||0||Legia Warsaw||v. England, 8 September 2021|
|MF||Sebastian Szymański||10 May 1999||11||1||Dynamo Moscow||v. Albania, 2 September 2021|
|MF||Kamil Grosicki||8 June 1988||83||17||Pogoń Szczecin||UEFA Euro 2020, 17 May 2021|
|MF||Rafał Augustyniak||14 October 1993||1||0||Ural Yekaterinburg||UEFA Euro 2020, 17 May 2021|
|MF||Sebastian Kowalczyk||22 August 1998||0||0||Pogoń Szczecin||v. England, 31 March 2021|
|MF||Bartosz Kapustka||23 December 1996||14||3||Legia Warsaw||v. Hungary, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|MF||Michał Karbownik||13 March 2001||3||0||Olympiacos||v. Hungary, 25 March 2021|
|FW||Adam Buksa||12 July 1996||5||5||New England Revolution||v. Andorra, 12 November 2021|
|FW||Dawid Kownacki||14 March 1997||7||1||Fortuna Düsseldorf||v. Albania, 2 September 2021 INJ|
|FW||Jakub Świerczok||28 December 1992||6||1||Nagoya Grampus||UEFA Euro 2020|
INJ Withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
Main article: List of Poland international footballers
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|1930||Did not enter||Declined participation|
|1934||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|1938||Round of 16||11th||1||0||0||1||5||6||2||1||0||1||4||1|
|1950||Did not enter||Declined participation|
|1954||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|1958||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|1986||Round of 16||14th||4||1||1||2||1||7||6||3||2||1||10||6|
|1990||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2010||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2022||To be determined||To be determined|
|Host nation(s) – Year||Result||Pld||W||D*||L||GF||GA|
|1896||no Olympic football tournament|
|1900||Did not enter|
|1928||Did not qualify|
|1932||no Olympic football tournament|
|1948||Did not qualify|
|1956||Did not qualify|
|1964||Did not qualify|
|1980||Did not qualify|
|Since 1992||See Poland Olympic football team|
|UEFA European Championship record||Qualification record|
|1960||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2012||3||0||2||1||2||3||Qualified as hosts|
|2024||To be determined||To be determined|
|UEFA Nations League record|
|2022–23||A||To be determined|
Statistics updated as of 15 November 2021. List including all matches officially recognized by the Polish Football Association (also those not recognized by FIFA).
|Positive balance (more Wins)|
|Neutral balance (Wins = Losses)|
|Negative balance (more Losses)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||5||4||1||0||9||3||+3||UEFA|
|Czech Republic/ Czechoslovakia||27||7||4||16||33||53||−20||UEFA|
|Germany/ West Germany||21||1||7||13||12||34||−22||UEFA|
|Republic of Ireland||28||11||11||6||44||30||+14||UEFA|
|Russia/ Soviet Union||19||4||6||9||18||34||−16||UEFA|
|United Arab Emirates||2||2||0||0||9||2||+7||AFC|