FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

23 May - 15 June

FIFA U-20 World Cup

Magiera: Poland will continue to fight

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  • Poland outdone by Colombia in opener despite buzzing home crowd
  • Key defender Walukiewicz goes off injured
  • Coach Jacek Magiera: "Everything is still in our hands"

This was not how the host nation imagined their first match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 would go. Poland were thoroughly bested by Colombia on the night, going down 2-0 in the end.

“The best team won,” said Poland head coach Jacek Magiera. “They had more efforts on goal and were quicker than us mentally and physically. The Colombians have played 15 games this year, we’ve only had three. You can’t get away from that fact. It was clear they were a much more cohesive unit.

"They also got the better of us in one-on-one situations in wide areas; that gave them the upper hand on many occasions. We had to try and stay in the game. Maybe the Colombians weren’t perfect in everything they did, but they were very good, that’s for sure."

In contrast, the Colombian camp were ecstatic afterward their win.

“Poland didn’t surprise us," said Arturo Reyes, coach of Los Cafeteros. "We knew that they’d attempt to dominate the game, and they tried to do that. However, we were patient. We waited for them to make a mistake and when it came, we were ready to take advantage.”

The Colombian coached praised goalscorer Ivan Angulo, who gave the home defence a torrid evening.

“Ivan really helped us reach this tournament, even if we did have problems scoring goals in the qualifiers," said Reyes. "He’s a player who loves to work hard. I couldn’t be happier with him. I’m happy with the goal, but I’m even happier with the win."

Poland suffered another blow by losing one of their most important players, Sebastian Walukiewicz, to injury. The promising centre-back collided with a Colombian player in the second half and had to be replaced. A decision on his playing status will be made before the team's next match against Tahiti on 26 May.

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Despite his team’s troubles, Magiera stressed that they were still hopeful.

“These boys can’t let their heads drop," he said. "They have to come out and face the media and say what they think. This is good experience for them. My coaching staff and I will continue to keep the lads fired up.

"This is not the end of our tournament. We have two days to analyse what happened here tonight, to make changes to the team and to prepare for our game against Tahiti. We’ll do what we have to do. Everything is still in our hands. Don’t write these players off yet. It’s a tough moment, but now is when we’ll see who is mentally ready to raise their game and play at a higher level in the future."

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