Friday, December 18, 2015

18 December 1921 - The Poles Get In Position

On 18 December 1921, Poland played their first official international, a 1-0 loss to Hungary. It was a humble start for a team that would later claim an Olympic gold medal and twice finish in third place at the World Cup.

The Polish national team was only 2 years old when they lost to Hungary, having been founded in December 1919. And it would take another 5 months before they recorded their first victory, beating Sweden 2-1 in Stockholm. By the 1930s, however, they had improved rapidly, led by prolific goalscorer Ernst Wilimowski (pictured, with the ball). Even without Wilimowski, who was suspended for a year for excessive partying, Poland nearly medalled at the 1936 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth after wins over Hungary and Great Britain.

Poland's greatest achievement came at the 1972 Summer Olympics, when they won the gold medal with a 2-1 victory over Hungary. They followed that performance with a third-place finishes at the 1974 and 1982 World Cups.

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