Poland coach loses job after team’s World Cup performance

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz will not have his contract renewed, the country’s national soccer association said Thursday.

Michniewicz, whose contract ends on Dec. 31, led the team into the knockout rounds at the World Cup in Qatar for the first time in 36 years.

“For this, Czesław Michniewicz deserves thanks,” Polish soccer association president Cezary Kulesza said in a statement.

Kulesza said the body will soon start looking for a new coach.

Polish media reported that senior players were dissatisfied with the coach after the team’s 3-1 loss to France in the round of 16. The issue of player bonuses, which had been expected to be paid by the government, reportedly caused division in the camp in Qatar.

The soccer association said its decision took into account the “further functioning of the national team and the direction of its development.”

Michniewicz took over from Paulo Sousa in January. Sousa, who is Portuguese, left to join Brazilian club Flamengo.

Michniewicz took Poland through the World Cup qualifying playoffs in March, beating Sweden after Russia was removed from the competition by FIFA.

Poland will next play in March in European Championship qualifying. The Poles are in a group with the Czech Republic, Albania, Moldova and the Faeroe Islands. The top two teams will advance to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

“The new coach must also improve the image of the national team and rebuild the trust of the fans,” Kulesza said.

He added on Twitter: “Coach, thank you for 11 months of work with the Polish national team. Good luck in your further career!”

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