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Lewandowski coy on Poland future after World Cup exit

Poland forward Robert Lewandowski. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP

Poland captain Robert Lewandowski refused to confirm if he had played his last ever game at the World Cup after his side were knocked out of the tournament in Qatar in a 3-1 last-16 defeat by France on Sunday.

Barcelona striker Lewandowski scored a late consolation from the penalty spot for a Poland side who were outclassed by the fearsome French attack in Doha.

He will be almost 38 by the time the next World Cup comes around in North America in 2026 but he suggested that issues beyond his physical condition were more likely to see him end his international career.

“Physically I’m not afraid of this but we have so many different things outside of football, whether your happiness is still there and what’s going on around so it’s tough to say now,” admitted the former Bayern Munich striker.

“From the sporting side I’m not afraid but there are different things that altogether can decide whether it will be the last one or not.”

Lewandowski has enjoyed a prolific career for club and country but had never scored a World Cup goal until he netted in Poland’s group stage win over Saudi Arabia — he even missed a penalty in their opening draw with Mexico.

Despite Poland’s exit he insisted that it had been a successful tournament after they made it out of the group stage at the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

“We wanted to still be in the World Cup but in the end we achieved our goal,” he said.

“We wanted to play after the group stage. If you play against the world champions it’s always tough but as a team we knew what kind of deficit we have.”

Meanwhile Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz admitted that not playing for one of the leading international sides made it harder for Lewandowski to shine at the very highest level.

“Expectations for the top players like Mbappe and Messi are always huge and his situation is difficult because the style of play of Portugal or France is more beneficial to the forwards,” Michniewicz said.

“We have a different style. We have some limitations and need to cover the gap in levels when we play against a team with Messi or Mbappe.

“He is in a difficult situation but it doesn’t mean he is not going to score for the national team. We were not playing against Andorra — if we were he might have scored five.”

Michniewicz added that he believed Lewandowski was capable of leading Poland into future tournaments, with the next objective Euro 2024 in Germany.

“He is the captain of the national team and will decide about his future himself but the way he is playing I think he can be the captain for years to come.”

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