Robert Lewandowski scored a brace in Poland’s final tuneup friendly vs. Lithuania inside of the first half in Warsaw. With that brace, Lewandowski has now scored four goals in Poland’s last three matches, all of which have been friendlies: against South Korea, Chile, and Lithuania. At that rate, Lewandowski is scoring at least a goal per match for Poland, which is exactly the type of form you’d want him to be in heading into the World Cup.
His goals vs. Lithuania:
Earlier this year during Poland’s World Cup qualifying campaign, Lewandowski became the country’s all-time leading goal-scorer with a hat-trick against Armenia, that lifted him past Włodzimierz Lubański’s record of 48 goals. He also beat out Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the top goal-scorer in European World Cup qualifying with a total of 16 goals during the campaign. That tally set a record for UEFA World Cup qualifying:
These numbers raise the question: can Lewandowski score goals for Poland on the world’s biggest stage and help them exceed expectations?
Lewandowski needs to score when it really matters
There’s simply no denying Lewandowski’s prolific goal-scoring record for Poland, not to mention the fact that he has scored over 40 goals across competitions for Bayern Munich in three consecutive seasons. Lewandowski’s record in major international tournaments, however, is far less impressive. The striker tallied just two goals in Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, where he played a combined total of eight matches.
Comparatively, Lewandowski also has also received a fair amount of stick for his failure to score in big matches for Bayern, particularly in the Champions League. In the past three seasons, he’s scored eight times in a total of 17 matches in the Champions League knockout stages, and just twice in the quarterfinals or later in that time span. In this most recent campaign, in particular, Lewandowski has been criticized for the number of chances he missed in both semifinal legs against Real Madrid, which Bayern ultimately lost 4-3 on aggregate.
Looking at Group H in the World Cup, Lewandowski’s chances of scoring are arguably more favorable than they would’ve been had Poland drawn a more difficult group. In a group comprised of Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan, Poland and Colombia are the odds-on favorites to progress to the knockout stages.
Lewandowski will surely want to continue his current run of form if he wants to be a difference-maker on the world’s biggest stage. But can he?
How many goals do you think Lewandowski will score at the World Cup?
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