Poles motivated by lure of lucrative transfers

May 21, 2006

WARSAW, May 21 (Reuters) - Poland's experienced players will be driven by the incentive of lucrative moves to Europe's big clubs at next months's World Cup finals.

With a few exceptions, Poland's squad consists mainly of players plying their trade with second rate clubs in England, Germany and eastern Europe, however midfield playmaker Miroslaw Szymkowiak says a good showing in Germany could change all that.

'Every one of us is willing to lose a leg to show we can play,' the Trabzonspor player said at the team's official World Cup launch.

'If we do well, all of us will have offers of new contracts abroad. Many of us are getting close to 30, so this is really our last chance. I would certainly like to try out in a stronger league.'

After the shock omission of Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek and their top scorer in qualifying Tomasz Frankowski, Poland head for Germany without two of the team's biggest stars, sparking a wave of media criticism of coach Pawel Janas.

However, speaking after a lunch with Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz at Warsaw airport to launch the team's campaign, most players were upbeat about their chances of advancing from a group that includes hosts Germany, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

'Everything may depend on the result of the first games,' Bayer Leverkeusen midfielder Jacek Krzynowek said.

'We play the Germans in the second game and if either of us lose points we will be under a lot more pressure. Our chances of beating Germany are maybe 50-50.'

After an embarrassing first round exit in South Korea four years ago, the Poles regard a second-round spot as their minimum goal, with either Sweden or England their likely opponents in the knockout stage.

'For the next few weeks no-one will care what the Prime Minister of Poland is doing -- all eyes will be on you, you will represent our nation,' Marcinkiewicz told the team.

'I hope with all my heart you can provide joy to the millions of Poles who will be following you.'