WARSAW — Poland coach Waldemar Fornalik on Monday warned against underestimating his side, on the eve of their 2014 World Cup qualifier against England.
The Poles are aware that history is against them - having beaten the English just once and drawn six times in 17 previous meetings - but the Poland coach said that counted for nothing in the match which will take place at the Kazimierz Gorski stadium.
"Poland and England games have always been seen as extremely important, and this is how we see this match too," Fornalik told reporters.
"We are aware of the high class of our opponents, but we also know what we are worth."
The hosts have been buoyed by Friday's win, a 1-0 friendly defeat of South Africa, and England know only too well that the Poles can pull off surprises.
Under the management of Gorski, Poland famously deprived an over-confident England of a berth at the 1974 World Cup in a qualifier at Wembley.
The clout of today's Poland pales compared to that generation, who went on to finish third in the finals in West Germany.
But they are still rated as one of the stronger opponents in a Group H that also includes their fellow Euro 2012 hosts Ukraine, Montenegro, Moldova and minnows San Marino, who lost 5-0 to England on Friday.
Poland kicked off their campaign to reach the 2014 finals in Brazil last month with a 2-2 draw in Montenegro and a 2-0 home win against Moldova.
Fornalik, who has spent his entire career as a coach in the Polish league, has still struggled to convince critics since taking the helm in July following Poland's disappointing showing as co-hosts of Euro 2012.
"The two teams are going to be fighting for three points," he said.
"There was a wise man who said that if you go in aiming to draw, you're going to lose, but if you're planning to win, it's possible to draw," he said.
"We mustn't forget that if perhaps we haven't succeeded for years against England, there was a problem. Now the approach is very different.
"It's not enough to say we must win, we must win, we must win. What it comes down to is going out and doing the best we can, and in fact we can actually be victorious," he added.
Lacking talismanic captain Kuba Blaszczykowski - the Borussia Dortmund midfielder is out with an ankle injury - Fornalik has given the armband to hardman defender Marcin Wasilewski
The 32-year-old Anderlecht man said he felt the importance of playing England personally.
"I've always had extra emotions about this.
"I like watching them play. And I like the Premier League. It was kind a dream of mine to get there, but I understand that my football career's slowly coming to an end, so I think it will remain a dream," he said.
In the wake of Poland's lacklustre Euro 2012 showing - they crashed out in the group stage - Wasilewski said a thriller in Tuesday's game would be a morale-booster.
"Such a match is very much needed, especially against such a team as England," he said.
"We're all aware that it's just another qualifier, and just the beginning of the qualifying campaign, and not going to determine anything, but it would be good to blaze the trail."
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