Robert Lewandowski expecting rough night in Glasgow

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan says Poland have committed 30% more fouls than his side

As antiquated as the notion may be, an image of hatchet men disguised in Scotland strips seemingly lingers. That much has become apparent in the lead-up to the European Championship qualifying tie with Poland.

The Poles still harbour a sense of grievance over the treatment dished out by Scotland to their star man, Robert Lewandowski, during a 2-2 draw in Warsaw last year.

Adam Nawalka, the Poland coach, labelled the approach as "brutal" while Lewandowski has expressed the fear Scotland "will play very aggressively and not necessarily in accordance with the rules" this evening in Hampden Park.

Unsurprisingly, such sentiment earned a swift rebuke from Gordon Strachan. "All I know is Poland have had 30 per cent more fouls in the [qualifying] games than we have," said Scotland's manager. They have had more yellow cards. I don't know who the officials are. I don't know who is doing the game and I don't care."


Statistics back up Strachan’s argument. Scotland have committed 80 fouls to Poland’s 110 with Nawalka’s side 15 to 12 ahead on bookings. Scotland are actually the most fouled team in the group.

Attacking player

“I would think if you went back 30 years ago then they could lay claim to that, when anything went in those games,” Strachan added. “But the game has changed, it has been sanitised a lot since then and for the good players. This is the best time to be an attacking player by a million miles.

“It depends who was talking about this. It could have been one or two people. There is actually a lot of respect between the two teams having played one another twice. I get on well with the coach.”

Of course, Lewandowski did not have to say a word to guarantee his status as the focal point of this Hampden fixture.

The Bayern Munich forward joined up with his international teammates having scored 12 goals in only four matches.

“Our opponents should be afraid of him,” said Nawalka. “For me, Robert is the best striker in the world. He’s the key player and has a lot of different strengths.”

With 29 goals, Poland are the top scorers in the section. Scotland have mustered only 14 from eight games. “Poland have a good side with a special player,” Strachan said.

“It would be stupid of me to try to ignore it. You can say for the last five years that Messi and Ronaldo have been the best players in the world. I think he has been the best player in the world for the past month.”

Unclear future

Despite the notably upbeat mood of Strachan yesterday, Scotland are four points adrift of third-placed Republic of


in Group D with just two matches to play. Strachan’s own future is unclear.

The Scottish FA are keen for him to remain, regardless of what the coming days bring, and expect to do so. Strachan, though, is notoriously difficult to second guess.

“I thought before the group started we were progressing nicely enough that we would have been a couple of points ahead of now,” he said.


“I’m not disappointed with what the players have done in terms of performance and all the rest of it. I’m just disappointed that we’re a couple of points behind where we might have been.

“There’s an excitement. I always try to figure out how I’ll feel, win, draw or lose. I’m going through all these emotions at the moment.

“What we have to deal with is a big game and a full house. I don’t know how big it will be, win lose or draw until after the game. But I know it’s important.” (Guardian service)