, one of the finest players in the history of Polish football, has died in his home town of Aleksandrów Łódzki. He was 55.
The peak of his career was in the 1980s, when he played 60 matches for the national team, scoring 13 goals.
Polish fans have fresh in their memory Smolarek’s wonderful performances, both in midfield and down the wings, in the World Cup tournaments in 1982 and 1986. During the game in Spain Poland placed third and Smolared, who scored the opening goal in the victorious game against Peru (5-1 for Poland), was one of the architects of the success. Four years later, in Mexico, he scored the only goal for Poland in the whole tournament. It gave Poland a one nil victory over Portugal and a place in the second round.
Smolarek’s long list of successes also includes two Polish championships (as a member of Widzew Łódz) in 1981 and 1982 and Poland’s Cup in 1985 (also with Widzew).
After the 1986 World Cup, Smolarek continued his career in Germany, playing for Eintrach Frankfurt (1986-88) and the Netherlands, with Feyenoord Rotterman (1988-90) and FC Utrecht (1990-96). He later worked as a coach with Feyenoord’s under-16 team.
In 2009, he ran, unsuccessfully, in the elections for the European Parliament.
His son, Eugeniusz Smolarek, born in 1981, has followed in his father’s footsteps, having played for Feyenoord Rotterman, Borussia Dortmund, Racing Santander, Bolton Wanderers as well as Poland’s national team (47 caps, 20 goals since 2002).
Here is a little football related vocabulary for you:
football – piłka nożna, piłkarstwo
one of the finest players – jeden z najlepszych graczy
wonderful performances – wspaniałe osiągnięcia
opening goal – otwierająca/pierwsza bramka
victorious game – zwycięska gra
success – sukces, powodzenie
championships – mistrzostwa, zawody
coach – trener
player – gracz
scoring points – zdobywanie punktów
goalkeeper – bramkarz
to defend – bronić
team – drużyna
final – finał
supporter, fan – kibic
injury – kontuzja
ball – piłka
football pitch – boisko
to miss – chybić
to cheer on – dopingować
second half – druga połowa
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)