The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. If you have a tidbit, send it along to tips@Deadspin.com. Today: Poland! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point, who helped us with these as well.
• 1. Fun With The Early Cross. It's called a "soft goal," and we're not sure why. But here's an example, from a Friendly in March, in which the U.S.'s Clint Dempsey scores a header against Poland. We're told Artur Boruc committed the gaffe that made the goal possible.
• 2. That's Not The Wurst Of It. Grzegorz Piechna has become somewhat of a cult hero in his native land. While still playing in the third division, Piechna worked in a factory, delivering meat to shops (earning hin the nickname "Kielbasa"). But now that he's a Poland international and the league's top scorer, with 16 goals in the first 16 games and a good chance of going to the World Cup finals, he's moved up in the world. Now he drives coal trucks for his mother-in-law's company.
• 3. Know Your Polish Soccer Icons. Zbigniew Boniek has a moustache stolen right off the upper lip of Larry Bird and short-shorts that would make John Stockton blush. He led Poland to third place at Spain '82 and later starred in Serie A for Juventus in what was at the time the largest transfer fee for an Eastern European player. — (thanks to Mike Cardiilo).
• 4. That Expalins His Great Eyesight. Midfielder Euzebiusz 'Ebi' Smolarek is apparently quite a cad. During his time with Rotterdam's Feyenoord, he picked up a few of the local Dutch customs, leading to a failed drug test for hashish, earning him the nickname The Hasch Bomber. Also, he's part of Pepsi's David Beckham team, so his face will be on a can putting him in the same class as the immortal Jar-Jar Binks. — (thanks to Mike Cardillo).