St Etienne, France (dpa) - When an undisputed star claims that he is nothing without the rest of his team-mates, it is a cliche often met with condescending nods of agreement - but Poland are showing at Euro 2016 that sometimes one great player can also be carried by the other 10.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was the top scorer in Euro qualifying and is undeniably Poland's only world class player. But at Euro 2016 not only has he not scored, his overall contributions have been minimal, regardless of what coach Adam Nawalka claims.
Regardless, Poland survived a penalty shoot-out with Switzerland following a 1-1 draw in the last 16 Saturday and now look ahead to a first-ever Euro quarter-final with Portugal in Marseille on Thursday.
"Robert Lewandowski is doing phenomenal work for this team, he's an incredibly important player for this side," Nawalka said after the Switzerland game. "Both mentally and in football terms, he helps us to be stronger.
"Most important is the victory for the whole team and Robert Lewandowski is part of it."
The coach could hardly be expected to throw his superstar under the bus for his below par performances but not only is Lewandowski not scoring, he is not even getting opportunities.
He had only a single-half chance against Switzerland, created by himself with quick feet in the box, which he poked straight into the arms of keeper Yann Sommer.
And there is evidence his goal drought is affecting other parts of his game - on more than one occasion he hesitated in playing a final pass when the chance was there to set up team-mates to shoot at goal.
"Robert Lewandowski is giving and creating other chances for other players, opening space, creating positions for them," Nawalka insisted. "He takes the opponent's attention from other players, it's great work.
"And I'm confident and sure the break will happen in the next match. And then let the opponents be afraid."
Winger Jakub Blaszczykowski netted against the Swiss and another striker Arkadiusz Milik, though he missed an open goal when Swiss keeper Yann Sommer was pressed into a mistake by Lewandowski after just 60 seconds, was more dangerous than his more illustrious colleague throughout the contest.
"You've got to say that Robert does his job as well," keeper Lukasz Fabianski said. "Even though he's not scoring goals he gives a lot to the team.
"Even in the first minute of the game, we created something from his pressure, that put them under a stressful situation.
"That's what he gives us, even though we're not creating as much as we would like to for him. He's still trying to do his best for the team."
Dropping Lewandowski is not a serious prospect for Nawalka and though the rest of the squad have stepped up, getting his main forward firing again would be a big help towards winning the upcoming clash with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.
"We are happy to bring so much pleasure to our fans but now we're thinking of the next match," Nawalka said.
"We're prepared for this match mentally and emotionally, we're high up there and ready for it."
Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 18:42
Friday, June 24, 2016 - 18:26
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 10:13