Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny to miss vital Euro 2016 clash against Ukraine

Poland v Greece - Group A: UEFA EURO 2012

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will miss his side’s last Euro 2016 Group C game against Ukraine on Tuesday through injury. Swansea shot-stopper Lukasz Fabianski, a former Arsenal teammate, has played in Szczesny’s absence and has kept two clean sheets in their narrow win over Northern Ireland and stalemate against Germany.

Poland manager Adam Nawalka revealed on Monday that the AS Roma man isn’t ready to be brought back into the fray: “Wojciech is not ready for the game. All the other players are fit,” he said. Nawalka was also asked about his side’s chances of topping Group C with how unconvincing leaders and favourites Germany have been so far. Poland are level on points with their rivals going into the final group game and stand a great chance of progressing as winners to forge a kind last-16 draw.

“Ukraine is a tough rival and they have individual players with high skill levels so we need to be very well prepared both emotionally and tactically. I don’t want to speculate whether we will finish top of the group or not. We want to win every game,” said the Poland manager. Yet to concede in their two group games, Poland will fancy their chances of a win and a shutout against the Ukraine. Their opponents are bottom of Group C, without a point or goal to their name after two games.

Ukraine are greatly underachieving given their personnel in the squad, and are all but out of the tournament in the group stages. They have lost to Germany and Northern Ireland without reply, and won’t be too motivated to put in a performance as their fate is already sealed. Poland could be drawn against a third-placed side in another group if they can leapfrog Germany at the summit in their final outing.

As a result, there’s plenty for them to play for, especially given Northern Ireland are still hot on their heels in third place. The four best performing third-place sides go through to the last-16 so Northern Ireland will go into their clash with Germany still wanting a result. That will be a big boost for Poland who are desperate for a favour, assuming they can do their job in their own clash on Tuesday.

Germany have scored just one goal in open play from their two games so Northern Ireland will have some confidence of nullifying the world champions this week. Can Poland take advantage if they do?