Poland and Greece have appointed their new boss for the upcoming World Cup playoffs and UEFA Nations League fixtures in 2022.
Poland and Greece faced a similar challenge as they approached 2022. After the departure of the former bosses, they were both left with no one in charge of the team. Poland lost Paulo Sousa abruptly due to his decision to quit in December 2021 for signing the Brasilian club, Flamengo. Despite being rejected by Polish Football Federation (PZPN), the Portuguese manager resisted and eventually relied on his legal team to settle the dispute. Meanwhile, Greece had been left by John Van Schip for three months once he failed to bring Kostas Tsimikas and Co to the world cup playoff stage. Although Greek Football Association (EPO) was still eager to continue their collaboration, the Dutch boss had different opinion.
Poland and Greece New Managers Have Been Announced for World Cup Playoff and UEFA Nations League
Poland Opting for a Controversial Figure
Poland have named Czesław Michniewicz as Paulo Sousa’s replacement. The 51-year-old head coach managed to stand out from the other candidates, including Adam Nawalka, Marciej Skorza, Marek Papszun, and even former Ukraine and Genoa manager Andrey Shevchenko. His appointment, however, has been criticized due to the Michniewicz controversy. The former goalkeeper was most likely involved in the match-fixing scandal that raged from 2003 to 2005. He was in charge of Lech Poznan at the time, and he allegedly made hundreds of phone calls to a key figure in the football mafia named Ryzard F. Nevertheless, Michniewicz has never been charged or suspended for such case.
PZPN President, Cezary Kulesza, might have seen him differently. Michniewicz has built his reputation as one of the most notable figures in the country. He won Polish top flight Ekstralaksa twice with Zagłebie Lubin in 2007 and Legia Warsawa in 2021. Unfortunately, he was dismissed earlier this season despite guiding them to directly advance to the round of 16 in the Europa League as the group leader by toppling Napoli, Leicester and Spartak Moscow. Before taking charge of Legia, Michniewicz guided Poland U20 in Euro U21 in 2019 for the first time since 1994. His team was able to clinch two wins over Belgium and Italy with Federico Chiesa in it but was hammered 5-0 by, the eventual Champions, Spain.
Michniewicz is set to bring Robert Lewandowski and Co to Qatar 2022. At the playoff, Poland will be taking on Russia on March 24 before meeting either Sweden or Czech Republic for one ticket left five days later.
Greece in Favour of a Knowledgeable Manager
Meanwhile, after a long search, EPO at last named the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur man, Gustavo Poyet, as their head coach. This decision was rather surprising since the former Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde was tipped as the favourite.
Apparently, Poyet impressed EPO during his interview as he demonstrated his extensive knowledge of Greek football despite only having a brief spell in AEK Athens without any silverware. The 54-year old boss is set to be in command for two friendly games in March against Romania and Montenegro before starting their campaign in UEFA Nations League 2022/23. Greece is seeded in group C1 level 3 alongside Northern Ireland, Kosovo and the winner of relegation play-out between Cyprus and Estonia.
Gustavo Poyet’s managerial career has not been exactly exceptional. His best accolades were the Championship promotion in 2011 with Brighton and Chile Super Cup with Universidad Catolica in 2020 plus reaching the round of 16 in Copa America 2021. The Uruguayan’s experience in Premier League was not memorable either. He only managed to save Sunderland from relegation in 2013/14 before being dismissed in the following season.
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