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Smolarek dead at 54

Former Poland striker Wlodzimierz Smolarek has died at home at the age of 54.

Smolarek won 60 caps for his country as a striker between 1980 and 1992, scoring 13 goals. He also captained Poland on nine occasions and was part of the squad that finished third at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

At club level he was twice league champion with Widzew Lodz in his homeland and later played for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany as well as Feyenoord and FC Utrecht in the Netherlands.

He had recently worked with the Polish FA in youth development and Polish football federation president Grzegorz Lato said on the federation's official website: "I find it hard to believe. Wlodek was my friend and an on-field colleague. He was always a good spirit within the team.

"Recently, he was searching for new football talents 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."

Smolarek was the father of 31-year-old former Poland striker Ebi Smolarek, whose club side ADO Den Haag cancelled training on Wednesday morning on hearing the news.

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