Friday 22 June 2018, 17:46

Rybus hoping for third time lucky

  • Maciej Rybus met his wife in Russia

  • Poland midfielder plays his club football for Lokomotiv Moscow

  • Praises Russia 2018 organisation & the host country's performance

By Piotr Kozminski with Poland

Poland have never gone beyond the group stage when losing their first game at the FIFA World Cup™ (2002, 2006), but the whole team – including Maciej Rybus – believes it will be third time lucky.

"Russia is a good place for me," Rybus said to "I not only found my football club here, but my wife too. The level of the organisation for this World Cup has been top and we would like to stay here as long as possible."

Rybus plays as a left-back for Lokomotiv Moscow and won the Russian league this year. He went from joy to despair after Poland's defeat by Senegal 2-1 in their opening match at Russia 2018.

"Of course it wasn't the way we wanted to start the World Cup finals," Rybus said. "We had thought that we would have at least one point after this game. Unfortunately, we did not show our qualities. I still don't know what was the reason. Was it the pressure or maybe the fact we waited so long for this game? But I hope the worst is behind us.

"The game against Colombia will be like a final for both teams. It's obvious that Polish fans feel disappointed after our first game, but I hope they will be with us because we need their support."

The fact that Poland have never qualified for the second phase of the tournament after losing their opening game does not bother Rybus. "We don't look at statistics, we don't think about what happened in the past. We believe in our qualities, we are not at the World Cup finals by accident. We haven't lost faith just after one bad game. We feel highly motivated to show what we have shown many times in the past.

"We definitely need to play more aggressively against Colombia, and we need to give much more than we did against Senegal, but we are ready for this."

Poland Portraits - Maciej Rybus

Finding love in Russia Having spent multiple years playing in the Russian League, this is essentially a home World Cup for Rybus. But how would the Rybus household react—his wife is Russian—if Poland were to meet Russia at some stage in the tournament?

"No worries if either here or one day in the future there is a game where Poland faces Russia. We discussed it before the tournament and my wife declared that in such case she would stand with her husband and support Poland. So there's no issue at home (laughs)."

Rybus said he admires the high level of organisation at the tournament along with the results of the Russian national team.

"From what I've seen and from what I've heard, the organisation has been perfect. People are enjoying football together. I spoke about it with Zbigniew Boniek, the president of the Polish FA, and he also rates the organisation very highly.

And as for the Russian team, there were worries as they lost a number of friendlies, but their coach said they would be ready for the finals and he kept his word because they are doing very well. And now, it's our turn to also show positive, good football. I hope it will happen on Sunday."