Netherlands and Poland Begin European Championship with Key Players Missing

Netherlands and Poland Begin European Championship with Key Players Missing

The Netherlands and Poland face challenges in their European Championship opener as critical players like Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski are out due to injuries.

Hamburg, Germany: Stripped of their leading lights, the Netherlands and Poland limp to the start line at the European Championship on Sunday when they begin their Group D campaign in Hamburg.

The Dutch must do without playmaker Frenkie de Jong due to an ankle injury, and Poland talisman Robert Lewandowski will also miss the opening game.

Poland was already without right-back Matty Cash and striker Arkadiusz Milik when forward Karol Swiderski hurt his ankle while celebrating the opening goal in Monday’s friendly against Turkey.

He and Lewandowski should, however, be fit for the second group game against Austria.

The Dutch injury list also includes Europa League winners Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, and defender Sven Botman.

Despite these setbacks, Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman remains optimistic.

“In principle, we still have a strong squad now,” he said. “I think that we have been a little unlucky with quite a few injuries during the past year and a lot of injuries to players who were more than valuable for the national team.”

Poland are likely to suffer a greater morale blow with the absence of 35-year-old Lewandowski, who has scored 82 goals in 150 internationals.

“He is an outstanding player who has given much to the team in how he helped in every way,” said Poland coach Michal Probierz. Koeman stirred up controversy before the game by suggesting Lewandowski’s injury might be a bluff, to which Probierz responded with irritation.

“If we officially report something like this, it is to remove doubts from our supporters,” he said.

“He (Koeman) may have enormous knowledge of injuries. I do not, and I have confidence in our medical staff. There is a quote: ‘Tell the truth and people think you are lying.’ That applies here.”

With matches against Austria and France, Sunday’s game is considered a must-win for both teams.

“The fact that we are seen as underdogs can work to our advantage. Everyone thinks that France and the Netherlands are the favorites in our group. Because few people count on us, we feel little pressure. That is more a signal to show that we have a good team,” said Poland midfielder Jakub Moder.

The Dutch are unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Poland, last losing to them in 1979.

Despite their current injury woes, this historical dominance adds a layer of psychological advantage for the Dutch.

Key Players Missing for Both Teams

The absence of Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski must be considered.

De Jong is a crucial playmaker for the Dutch, known for his vision, passing, and ability to control the game’s tempo.

Without him, the Netherlands must rely on other midfield talents to fill the gap.

On the other hand, Robert Lewandowski is not just a goal scorer but also a leader on the field for Poland.

His experience and ability to score in crucial moments have often been the difference-makers for the team.

His absence will put more pressure on other forwards, such as Karol Swiderski and Arkadiusz Milik, to step up and deliver.

Impact on Team Strategies

The injuries will force both teams to adapt their strategies.

This might mean a more defensive approach or relying on younger players to step up for the Netherlands.

Koeman will need to be tactical in his substitutions and match planning.

Poland, meanwhile, will need to find new ways to penetrate the Dutch defense without their star striker.

The team’s midfield and remaining forwards must work cohesively to create scoring opportunities.

Fan Reactions and Expectations

Fans from both nations are eagerly awaiting the match despite the setbacks.

Dutch supporters hope their team’s depth and tactical acumen will see them through, while Polish fans are looking for an underdog victory that could set the tone for the rest of the tournament.


As the Netherlands and Poland gear up for their European Championship opener, the absence of key players like Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski looms large.

Both teams must dig deep and adapt their strategies to overcome these challenges.

With high stakes and historical context, Sunday’s match promises to be a gripping encounter for football fans worldwide.

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