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ZURAWSKI Maciej

02 June, 2006

He made his debut for Poland in November 1998 against Slovakia, but it would take some time before this fast, strong, two-footed centre forward cemented his place in the squad. By the time the 2002 FIFA World Cup came around, he was a regular and played i

Name: ZURAWSKI Maciej

Date of birth:  12 September 1976

Height:  180 cm

Weight:  74 kg

Position:  Forward

Current Club:  Celtic (SCO)

Int'l Goals:   15 (as of 31-May-2006)

Int'l Caps:  49 (as of 31-May-2006)

First Int'l Cap:  Slovakia v. Poland (10-Nov-1998)

Detail: After notching seven goals in qualifying, Poland’s top scorer Maciej Zurawski is determined to carry his good form through to the final phase of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™.

The striker began his career at Warta Poznan, making his debut in the Polish First Division in 1994 before joining local rivals Lech Poznan three years later. His big break came in 1999, however, when he joined Wisla Krakow. There, he won the league title in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and lifted the cup in 2002 and 2003 for good measure.

Zurawski’s goals were a decisive factor in 2002 and 2004, when he twice finished top of the Polish scoring charts. This fine form attracted the interest of a number of top European clubs, and before the 2005 season started, he signed for Celtic, eventually showing his flair and instinct for goal after a difficult first couple of months in Glasgow.

n all three group matches, although he failed to get on the scoresheet.

Match-winner

In the qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, however, Zurawski had much more success, scoring the winning goals against both Northern Ireland and Wales. He ended the campaign on seven goals and was one of the main reasons why Poland managed to finish second in Group Six behind England and qualify directly for the final phase as one of the best runners-up.

“This will be my second World Cup. The first time around, it was a real learning curve, even though I played in all three matches. In the meantime though, I have become a better player, and I think I will be more successful,” says the striker with confidence. “In the qualifiers, I was Poland’s top scorer, and if I can keep this form up I’ll be the top scorer again this summer.”

Zurawski will be hoping that his goals propel Poland to as much success as the last time the FIFA World Cup was played in Germany. In 1974, the Poles finished in third place, while star striker Gzregorz Lato’s seven goals earned him the tournament’s Golden Shoe award. ‘Magic’ will be looking to emulate Lato this summer, carving his name in the annals of Polish football in the process.


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