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Fornalik sacked after World Cup failure

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 16.10.2013 15:10
Waldemar Fornalik is to stand down as coach of Poland's national football team following failure to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer, the Polish FA has announced.

Waldemar Fornalik at Wembley, Tuesday night, after his last game in charge: photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka

President of the association (PZPN) Zbigniew Boniek said at a press conference on Wednesday, following defeat to England at Wembley, that though the team coach still has three months to run on his contract, Fornalik would be standing down after just 15 months as coach.

Boniek told journalists that a new coach will be appointed "within two weeks".

Favourites for the post are thought to be Górnik Zabrze's Adam Nawałka and Pogon Szczecin's Dariusz Wdowczyk, though Poland has experimented before with trying out a foreign coach, as they did when PZPN appointed the Netherlands' Leo Beenhakker from 2006 to 2010, with mixed results.

The 50 year-old Fornalik took over as coach of the national side after Poland, under Franciszek Smuda, under-performed at Euro 2012, which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine.

Poland's only victories in their World Cup qualification group came against weaker sides Moldova and San Marino, but also included defeats to England and Ukraine.

A key task for the new coach will be to reduce the average age of the players to encourage a new generation to flourish.

Fornalik has been criticised for relying on bringing back older players, such as Mariusz Lewandowski, to the side, instead of bringing in new talent.

The coach's departure appears to be far from a mutual parting of the ways. Fornalik said after defeat to England on Wednesday, in what was a dead rubber for the Polish side: "I still feel ambitious and don''t want to leave".

The draw for qualification groups for the European Championship 2016 will be made in Nice in February 2014 and the first matches will begin in September. (pg)

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