The draw that was Smuda's victory - for all the talk about his incompetence in changing things during the game, and the half-time break included, today it was the second half that was the pleasure to watch for Polish fans. He can also beat away claims about physical appearance - even though the team clearly couldn't keep the tempo throughout the ninety minutes - media will not focus on the comeback and victorious Błaszczykowski, rather than look at several issues.
That is normal and good for the team. After all, you could see that minutes after the way they were still full of positive energy and like the draw against Greece put them a little bit down, this performance should lift them up again.
But Franciszek Smuda is the one who faces several questions over the Czech game and he will be looking at every day for reasons to keep up with first or the second game. Tytoń or Szczęsny? Dudka or Rybus? 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1? Keep tiring Boenisch or put fresh Wawrzyniak? Leave out Obraniak for his outburst? What if Polanski's injury is serious?
As you see, these are rather important issue. Szczęsny came out after the game demanding his place back, though he doesn't have cards in his hand. Smuda will definitely have a thought about his inclusion, though that should never be the case. Irresponsible acts on the pitch should be costly for those who commit these crimes and Szczęsny is the perfect example of that.
Media are on the second issue already and huge majority vows that Smuda should be back to favored 4-2-3-1 by dropping Dudka in place for Rybus. But evidences are clear again - tactically, Poland was much safer with the 4-3-3, turning into 4-2-1-3, and also as unpredictable as against Greece. If something is working - and clearly it was working tonight - then why make a change?
Of course, the score Poland needs against Czechs is quite different to what Smuda aimed at before Russia game. He will not say that everything apart from defeat will do - he needs attacking approach or at least the one that will give advantage. There is a scare that Czechs may close the game early on - especially without injured Rosicky, and with Kolar playing rather poorly tonight, Bilek will look for more defensive approach, more counter-attacking.
But as today's game also proved, we can create danger from the shape presented tonight and with even better effects than in 4-2-3-1 against Greece, where attacking trio behind Lewandowski failed miserably despite one man advantage. Smuda may look at simpler options, like trying to push Murawski a bit forward, encourage him to play in an advanced role.
Boenisch, on the other hand, looked completely out of power and running at will in the end. He is the one whose problems were exposed most often by the press, while he might not have put serious injuries behind him. He ran tirelessly tonight, admittedly went forward more often than against Greece, but there must be a doubt whether he is ready to play three games in a week on the same level.
Surely, the biggest problem for Smuda is the hype that media are already creating - it is likely that tomorrow fans will be delivered a thousand stories about victory and fantastic performance, while this was only a result of wise changes, adaptation of tactics and keeping discipline along with the attacking instinct of talented and quality footballers Poland have. This was the performance Poles should expect, not the one against Greece. But it's still not the highest level, there is room for improvement - if Smuda will fail to notice that, the Czech game may become a much more nervous encounter than anyone in Poland would wish for.