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World Cup 2018 is last opportunity to witness this rare breed of strikers

Big teams have all deviated from the traditional approach of forwarding playing in the global stage

BS Web Team & IANS  |  Warsaw 

Robert Lewandowski. (Photo: Shuttershock)
Robert Lewandowski. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Robert Lewandowski, Poland's 29-year-old goal scoring machine means a lot to the at the but he might also be the last of a dying breed of the target man.

Numerous target man like Gerd Muller, Gabriel Batistuta and Didier Drogba, have had memorable performances at World Cups and now the Poles are here to take their legacies further.

However, with the development of the "shadow striker" or the "false 9" in modern football, a pure out-and-out striker has become much rarer as teams have deviated from the old school use of the target man.

Big teams have all deviated from this traditional approach of forwarding playing in the global stage.

The World Champions Germany in 2014 also played with a shadow striker with as an alternative to the ageing Klose represented the orthodox method of attacking play and is also the highest goal scorer of all time in the Fifa World Cup. This time, the Germans have the option of the veteran centre-forward Mario Gomez or the young Timo Werner.

Spain is one of the pioneers who popularised an attacking style of play without the use of the target man, especially in their 2010 World Cup campaign with David Villa leading the attack.

How can Lewandowski decide the fate of other centre-forwards?

Poland scored 28 goals in qualifying for the

Bayern Munich's tall frontman is already his country's top goal scorer and will be counted on to lead Poland in Russia.

ALSO READ: Poland might need Lewandowski's fire in World Cup. Here's the 23-man squad

Lewandowski may be the determinant of the fate of such strikers and could give other teams the confidence to employ the players of his mould to lead their team. As it stands, having a target man who can hold up the ball well and bring his teammates into play could be a valuable tactic at this World Cup if only because so few teams are used to defending against it.

Some other strikers of the same kind

Olivier Giroud. (Photo: Shuttershock)

(Photo: Shuttershock)

of France and Mario Mandzukic of Croatia embody the classic "number 9" role that is in danger of disappearing from modern football.

Some of the other strikers in the similar style are Edinson Cavani of Uruguay, Radamel Falcao of Colombia, Romelu Lukaku of Belgium and Harry Kane of England. Their performance will reignite about the relevance in the biggest stage of such type of strikers.

Edinson Cavani will link up with Luiz Suarez in the front and will be the target man for the Uruguay Team. Captain Harry Kane will lead the English contingent and will provide an aerial threat to the opponents as well as linking up with his colleagues in midfield.

Will we witness some old school action of the Ronaldos in these new age strikers or will they converge more into the build up of the gameplay? All will be revealed once the world cup starts.

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First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 20:30 IST