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Wojciech Szczesny believes 'playing for your life' will help Poland

Wojciech Szczesny believes 'playing for your life' will help Poland
© Reuters
With just one point in Group E, the Poles have to win if they are to make the knockout stage.

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny insists the make-or-break nature of the final group game against Sweden has simplified their approach.

With just one point in Group E, the Poles have to win if they are to make the knockout stage.

Three years ago at the World Cup in Russia, Poland were the first European team to be eliminated after losing their opening two matches but the point they secured against Spain last time out has given them a lifeline.

Szczesny said the atmosphere within the squad is completely different to 2018.

"After our first match at the 2018 World Cup, when we still had two matches ahead of us and could qualify from the group, there was no spirit in the team," he told Euro

"Here, after the first match, even though we'd put ourselves in a very difficult position, you could tell we had faith and the will to qualify.

"Mentally, it is pretty easy when you know you have to win the match. No need to speculate.

"So the mental approach to such a game is much simpler because you don't leave any energy for the last few minutes or the next match.

"You play for your life, and I think that can help us."

What Poland, who will assess Southampton defender Jan Bednarek (muscle) and Brighton midfielder Jakub Moder (knee) ahead of the game, have to their advantage is Robert Lewandowski, who set a new Bundesliga goalscoring record of 41 goals this season.

Sweden are the surprise leaders of Group E and that success has been built on solid defence as they have yet to concede at the tournament.

Lewandowski obviously poses a significant challenge but centre-back Marcus Danielson said the Bayern Munich striker cannot be their only target.

"We can't focus on just one player," he said.

"Of course he's their best and most important player, but we need to defend as a team – against him and the rest of the Polish team.

"We have a structure and a defence that works really well, and we never shy away from the effort needed in every match."

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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
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