Scotland won’t get a better chance to rewrite poor Polish record
You have to go way back to 1958 for Scotland’s last win over Poland.
The Tartan Army travel to Warsaw in what Gordon Strachan should have earmarked as a dress rehearsal for October and the Euro 2016 qualifiers. He told the media different, but these nations meet again competitively in October.
Scotland and the Poles were drawn in a pool that also contains the Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Germany and new UEFA members Gibraltar.
Strachan’s side are fourth-favourites to win qualifying Group D at 12/1 and 5/2 shots to appear at the tournament finals in France in two years’ time.
Only Germany are deemed more likely to top the table and make Euro 2016 from this pool than Poland.
Punters can get even-money on them joining Joachim Low’s lads at the next European Championship and 7/1 for the Poles to pip their neighbours as group winners.
If Poland are to qualify for their first tournament since 2008 (they co-hosted Euro 2012 with Ukraine), all hopes will be pinned on current Borussia Dortmund attacking pair Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski.
National captain Blaszczykowski is presently sidelined by a serious knee injury until next season, and Bayern Munich-bound striker Lewandowski is out because of strained ligaments. Another Dortmund player in fullback Lukasz Piszczek will captain Poland against Scotland.
Lewandowski has almost four times as many international goals as the other strikers in Adam Nwalka’s squad put together. Attacking midfielder Ludovic Obraniak has earned his first call-up in a year, however, and he forms part of a supporting cast that is capable of netting.
Joined by winger Waldemar Sobota (11/4), and creative player Mateusz Klich (11/2), Obraniak, who moved to Werder Bremen from Bordeaux in January, is 7/2 to score here alongside Maciej Rybus.
Poland start odds-on favourites at 19/20 for a friendly victory. Their last two encounters with Scotland have been score draws, however, and punters can get 23/10 if they fancy Strachan’s side to nick something. An away win for the Tartan Army to celebrate comes in at 3/1.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was a late call-up by Strachan after hitting a Scottish Premiership hat-trick against Inverness. He is 7/4 to break his international duck against the Poles and a 6/1 shot to net first.
Steven Fletcher (also 7/4 to score anytime), a losing Capital One Cup finalist with Sunderland, versatile Everton player Steven Naismith (2/1) and Championship top-scorer Ross McCormack (11/4) are Strachan’s alternative options up front.
Very seldom can Scotland boast better attacking choices than their opponents but, with Lewandowski out, this is one of those occasions. All six goalkeepers across the two squads amazingly have Premier League experience. The Scots are better priced for a clean sheet at 11/4 (Poland shutting them out in Warsaw is an 11/10 chance).
Smart money will be on a third successive 1-1 score draw in this fixture at 11/2. Scotland’s squad is far stronger – while the Polish roster looks much weaker – than their last encounter, so back Strachan to take at least something.