Wlodzimierz Smolarek: Footballer who excelled at the 1982 World Cup

Monday 12 March 2012 01:00

The former Poland striker Wlodzimierz Smolarek, who died on 7 March at the age of 54, was part of the Poland team that finished third at the 1982 World Cup. He scored 13 goals in 60 games for Poland between 1980 and 1992.

Born on 15 July 1957, Smolarek began his club career at Widzew Lodz, where he won two league titles, and went on to play for Legia Warsaw. He later played abroad, for Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany and in the Netherlands for Feyenoord and Utrecht.

After retiring from playing, Smolarek worked for Feyenoord, coaching in the club's youth set-up. In October 2009 he was hired by the Polish Football Association to oversee the Polish youth programme. His son Euzebiusz followed him into football, and currently plays for Den Haag in the Dutch League.

Smolarek's fellow former Poland striker, Zbigniew Boniek, said Smolarek was, "ambitious, modest, quiet but never spared himself in the field." Another fellow hero of '82, Grzegorz Lato, added: "Recently, he was searching for new soccer talent with Polish roots – he had a really good nose for that. In fact, the news of his death still has not sunk in. It's a big shock for us."

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