Damien Perquis: “This will definitely not be Lewandowski’s last World Cup”

Damien, you were a member of the Polish national team fourteen times between 2011 and 2013. What are the goals of this selection in the World Cup?

When Robert Lewandowski is in the dressing room, the goal is clear. Each team’s passage through the group stage is more or less the same. Besides, I don’t think this will be his last World Cup. Knowing his lifestyle and how he takes care of his body, I think he can play until the next edition in 2026.

Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly a Polish star. Czesław Michniewicz, however, has to deal with a diverse group.

Poland is a mixture of young and old players, we are starting to get to know the structure well. Ditto for Grzegorz Krychowiak in the middle with Wojciech Szczesny, who has been there for a long time, and therefore Robert Lewandowski up front. They are regular participants in the selection that comes with an alloy of interesting young people. I am thinking especially of recently naturalized Nikola Zalewski, Mateusz Wieteska, Piotr Zielinski or Matty Cash. These are the players who represent this rising and rather golden youth. Those who develop in Poland are not a majority, but rather a homogeneous group.

Lots of nuggets and a world star, but who will be the player to watch?

It is definitely Lewandowski, who trains everyone and is often responsible for the good results of the selection. But I really like Zalewski, who plays on the left side of “Roma”. Szymanski from Feyenoord is also very good and interesting. There are also players who are a bit slow to confirm, I’m thinking in particular of Milik, who made a big impression with Espoirs and unfortunately got injured afterwards. He’s not that young compared to some of the squad anymore, but he can do big things. Ultimately, what really matters in this workforce is the collective. Perhaps with the explosion of a new child. Why not Zalewski, he is very strong with Roma so he should confirm now. Szymanski will also use the opportunity to show off.

Poland starts the competition against Mexico. What importance do you attach to this meeting?

These are the two teams that serve as potential runners-up; Without taking any credit from Saudi Arabia. But these are two formations that will fight for it. So this is a very important match and it starts from the first day, so we must not lose it. There will be tension and a lot of pressure. From my heart, I see Poland winning. But it’s hard to tell because Mexicans are transformed during big races. Trying to be as objective as possible, I imagine a draw, but I don’t rule out a win for Poland (laughs). Poland cannot necessarily qualify in the last group match. Because the game against Argentina will not be easy. If the latter wins their first two matches, they will still be looking to finish in first place.

In general, several teams have been declared favorites. Who do you see in the final on December 18?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite final, but I definitely see Brazil as the favorite. They have a great squad and if they can find the strength of their character and some balance between their defensive and attacking play, they can reach the finals. This is one of the potential winners.

Croatia created a surprise in 2018, do you think the selection can do the same this fall?

It is possible that another team makes a surprise, and that would not surprise me. I’m thinking of Denmark, which I really like and find interesting. We talked a lot about them during the last Euros. We recently saw that the Danes are not easy to play in the Nations League.

Are there any posters in particular that you can’t miss?

I’m really looking forward to Croatia vs Belgium. They are two rising nations and they will meet each other in the last day. Those are the games I’m really passionate about, they have great players and it can make for a good opponent. I also have friends from Senegal and I will be careful about their visit. We are more attached to this kind of nation, when we want to see the success of our friends.

You played in Canada (Toronto FC) from January 2015 to summer 2016. The Canucks returning to the World Cup after a thirty-six-year hiatus. Can they also create a surprise?

It is no coincidence that a nation is ranked first in a qualifying group with the United States and Mexico. This is a young team with big names like Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Lille’s Jonathan David and Club Brugge’s Cyle Larin. They will bring something new to this World Cup. We haven’t seen them in a long time and no one expects them, so it’s pretty special to see them. I think it might be cool to see them develop.

I still have friends in Toronto and they are happy to see their country at the World Cup. I know Jonathan Osorio, who I play with and who is part of the team. I will watch them, but let’s not kid ourselves, their group is very complicated and they are not favourites. They may be a bit of a surprise in their group, but it will be quite difficult for them. They have nothing to lose but everything to gain by being spoken to.

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