MOSCOW — Poland will give center-half Kamil Glik every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of its World Cup opener against Senegal in Moscow on Tuesday.
The Monaco defender was initially thought to be out of the tournament after injuring his shoulder attempting a bicycle kick in training just hours after being named in Adam Nawalka's 23-man squad.
But he has made a remarkable recovery and, although it remains unlikely he will play against the African side, Nawalka's assistant Bogdan Zajac says every scenario remains possible.
"Every day he puts in several hours of work, not only on the field," Zajac told reporters Sunday. "He starts first thing in the morning and also trains in his spare time. He is strengthening the shoulder and is working hard to make up for lost time.
"With every day he gets closer to a return and his recovery is going in the right direction. He is ready to go to Moscow for the match with Senegal but everything is open."
With Colombia and Japan also making up Group H, Poland will be expected to qualify but Zajac denied that placed any extra pressure on the players.
"For footballers, pressure is a fact of everyday life, they can control it," he said. "It is true, however, that the World Cup has an extra element. But we must have pressure otherwise the adrenaline will not appear."
Senegal midfielder Badou Ndiaye will be a key man for Aliou Cisse's side and he says the team just needs some fine-tuning to be ready for its tournament debut.
"As the days go by, the team improves and we will get stronger," he told FIFA.com. "We just have a few adjustments to make before the start of the competition."
Of the Poland clash, he added: "It will be a World Cup match with intensity and commitment, on paper it is a high-quality clash and we are here to play in this type of match."
Cisse certainly does not lack for experience in these kind of encounters, having captained the Senegal side that made history at the 2002 World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals in its debut appearance.
He has also impressed as coach since taking charge in 2015 with his team unbeaten in the African qualifiers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Poland - Robert Lewandowski
One of the best traditional "number nines" in world football, Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski was the leading goalscorer in the European qualifiers with 16.
Senegal - Sadio Mane
A key man in Liverpool's surprise run to the Champions League final, Mane has blistering pace and will be looking to torment the Poland defense, especially if Glik is missing.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- This will be the first-ever encounter between Poland and Senegal.
- This is Poland’s eighth World Cup, but its first appearance since 2006. The Poles last reached the knockout stages in 1986, failing to advance from the group stages in each of their last two appearances (2002 and 2006).
- Senegal was unbeaten in its only previous group phase appearance at the World Cup (W1 D2) in 2002, which included a victory in the opening game against defending champions France (1-0).
- Diafra Sakho was the only Senegal player to score more than one goal in the third round of CAF qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. Meanwhile, no player delivered more assists than Sadio Mane in that qualifying section (3).
- This is Adam Nawalka’s second major tournament as Poland manager after taking his country to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, a tournament in which Poland remained unbeaten (W2 D3). He also played in five of Poland’s six games at the 1978 World Cup.