Preview: Poland v Ecuador

At Japan/Korea 2002 Poland and Ecuador both bowed out during the first round of the tournament. Both teams won just one match out of three, and both finished bottom of their respective groups. Four years on, the teams face each other as they look to kick-off their 2006 World Cup cam

    Magic: Poland's key man Maciej Zurawski

    Poland will play Ecuador at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen on Friday night in the second match of Group A.

    Qualifying as one of the best group runners-up in Europe the Poles, coached by countryman and former player Pawel Janas, won 8 from 10 of their qualifying matches and go into the tournament full of confidence.

    Ecuador qualified third in the CONMEBOL Federation defeating both Brazil and Argentina in the process, and must be equally as confident as their Eastern European rivals.

    Coach Luis Suarez has a full squad to choose from going into the match with key strikers Agustin Delgado and Carlos Tenorio both expected to take part after overcoming minor injuries.

    Agustin Delgado looking to exert
    some divine intervention

    Tenorio and influential Ecuadorian defender Ivan Hurtado both play their club football in Qatar for Al Sadd and Al Arabi respectively, where they would be well aware of the presence of Polish skipper Jacek Bak who plays for club side Al Rayyan in the Persian Gulf state.

    "Ecuador look like a very solid side. They are technically excellent. I know their forward Carlos Tenorio from the Qatar league, he is very quick, very strong, very good. But I believe we will win this game and that we will get out of the group." Bak said.


    The Poles are looking to control the midfield and shore up their defence while counterattacking down the wings with coach Janas tipped to go with a 4-5-1 formation.

    The key man for Poland is 29 year old forward Maciej Zurawski.  The man they call ‘Magic’ plays club football for Celtic in Scotland, and scored seven goals in qualifying matches.

    Ecuador will be relying on big centre forward Delgado to cause havoc in the Polish defence with the creative Edison Mendez also capable of scoring goals from midfield.

    This should be a cracking first round match and with Germany heavily touted to top Group A, this clash of contrasting football styles may well decide who goes through to the next round along with the hosts.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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