Poland skipper Robert Lewandowski has urged his team to salvage some pride in their final World Cup game against Japan as they faced up to the disappointment of an early elimination from the tournament.
The Poles came to Russia with high hopes but a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the hands of Colombia on Sunday confirmed they will not make it out of their group.
It followed a 2-1 defeat against Senegal in their opening game in Group H and made them the first European team to be knocked out of the tournament.
“Maybe that’s all we could do. Let’s be frank, it’s not like we lost by a whisker. So we fought, we tried to do our best, but at the moment we could not do anything more,” the prolific Bayern Munich striker was quoted as saying by Polish TV.
“Many things did not go as they should today, during this World Cup... I was alone, we fought, I fought, I did everything I could, but fighting is not enough to win World Cup matches, you also have to have quality, and we had too little of that.
“Right now we realise we didn’t do well enough but that is something we cannot overcome,” said the striker in a press conference at the team’s base in Sochi.
“We fought as much as we could but that was all we could do, bearing in mind the problems we had before the World Cup in terms of injuries and form.”
Poland impressed in qualifying but their friendly results before the World Cup were mixed and a shoulder injury suffered by defensive stalwart Kamil Glik just before the competition has not helped.
Lewandowski, who has been unable to make an impact in the tournament, refused to be drawn on his own international future.
However, the 29-year-old did admit that the Japan match in Volgograd would be “for some of us... our last game for the national team”.
He added: “We will continue playing the best we can, continue representing Poland and continue being proud of doing that.”
Coach Adam Nawalka will be out of contract after the Japan match and it is unclear whether he will be offered a new deal.
“After the last fixture I am at the board’s disposal and only then will decisions be taken,” said Nawalka, who took over in late 2013 and led the side to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
With inputs from AFP