Euro 2020 Preview | Spain vs Poland

Spain face Poland in their all-important second match in Group E on Saturday.

Whilst the match cannot be described as a must-win in terms of qualification, there is a feeling that three points are necessary for Spain after their 0-0 draw against Sweden.

Much has been made of Luis Enrique’s men in the ensuing days, but it has to be said that Spain were pretty good in patches against a resolute Swedish side. La Roja passed the ball around with ease, dictated play, created opportunities and defensively looked pretty solid.

The partnership of Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres looks set to stay.

And given Spain’s difficult preparations to the tournament, and the controversy over the non-selection of Sergio Ramos, Spain’s start to Euro 2020 could have been a lot worse.

Sergio Busquets has travelled to Seville to join up with the squad after testing negative for Covid-19.

Spain’s second match against Poland, it could be argued, is more important for the country in terms of confidence. Three points are vital also, especially in a group stage.

If Spain were to lose, they would have to win their last game and hope that four points is at least good enough to qualify through third place.

A win against Poland would put Luis Enrique’s men on good stead to qualify for the last 16, with the match against Slovakia still to play.

But whilst the three points are important, the confidence gained against a decent-looking Poland side would mean a lot to the players and to the manager.

A victory would set the new-look and young squad at ease and this would hopefully allow them to build on this result and play the football that they know that they can.

Spain’s 0-0 against Sweden was not the worst result in the world. After all, Spain do not traditionally do well at the start of a major tournament.

Euro 2020 Preview | Spain vs Poland 6 1003142131
Sweden before their clash with Spain (Photo by Juan Jose Ubeda/MB Media)

In their last three major tournaments, Spain have drawn 3-3 against Portugal, beaten Czech Republic 1-0 and lost 5-1 against Holland.

In the three that they won, Spain drew 1-1 against Italy at Euro 2012, lost 1-0 against Switzerland before winning the 2010 World Cup and won 4-1 against Russia at Euro 2008.

Of course, none of these games explain why Spain missed some easy chances the other night, but they do allow for a sense of perspective.

They also show how important a second match is, in terms of confidence and points. One average game can be seen as a one-off, two cannot.

A look at their opponents: Poland

Nobody needs reminding about the main Polish threat: Robert Lewandowski.

The Bayern Munich striker hit 41 goals in last season’s Bundesliga, beating Gerd Muller’s record of 40 in a single campaign.

Although his record for the national side is extremely good (66 goals in 120 caps), only two of these have come at European Championships.

However, Lewandowski will be up for the fight against the new-look partnership of Laporte and Torres.

He and the rest of the side will also have a point to prove.

Indeed, it is fair to say that the Poles’ opening match at Euro 2020 did not go to plan either.

Inside 18 minutes, Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny scored an own goal and although Torino midfielder Karol Linetty would equalise for his side, things would go from bad to worse for Paulo Sousa’s men.

Former Sevilla midfield Grzegorz Krychowiak was sent off and will not play in the city he used to call his home against Spain this weekend.

Slovakia’s Milan Skriniar would end up hitting the winner in the 70th minute and Robert Lewandowski failed to score in a match at a major tournament. Again.

In 2021, Poland’s only victory has been a 3-0 win over Andorra. They have lost against England and drawn against both Iceland and Russia.

But Spain will have to be at their best to beat them.

And their opening match defeat in a way makes this weekend’s encounter more difficult for Spain as Poland also realistically need a point.

The last time Spain faced Poland was in a warm-up match for the 2010 World Cup, when Vicente del Bosque’s men ran out as 6-0 winners.

Things will not be as comfortable this time around.

Although with this current Spanish side (who beat Germany 6-0 in the Nations League a few months ago) you never quite know what you are going to get.

James Felton

More European Football News