Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek and Panathinaikos striker Emmanuel Olisadebe have been tipped to be the outstanding stars of the Poland team at the World Cup finals but there is no doubt that the most influential player in Jerzy Engel's squad will be Marek Kozminski.
Kozminski, who spent the end of last season on loan at Ancona from Serie A side Brescia, provides the creative thrust in what is widely regarded as the best Poland side since the World Cup bronze medalists of 1982.
While Zbigniew Boniek was the talisman of that team, Kozminski has established himself as a similarly inspirational figure in the current side.
A veteran of Poland's 1992 Olympic Silver Medal winning team, he is a stylish operator able to play on the left or right of the midfield.
But Kozminski's greatest asset is his willingness to fight tirelessly for the cause and take his fair share of knocks along the way.
The foundations for developing such attributes were laid early in the 32-year-old's life.
As his father and president of Gornik Zabrze explains, Kozminski's impish skill and clever trickery with the ball was not always applauded by those who witnessed it.
"For his first sports camp during the summer holidays, he joined a group of lads who were two years older than him," recalls Zbigniew Kozminski.
"But it was not long before we had to take him home because the older kids didn't like being given the run-around by a younger child and they started to beat him up.
"Was he tough enough to take it? Indeed he was, because he didn't want to leave and he never revealed the names of the boys who beat him up.
"He kept it to himself even though I constantly asked him who was responsible. But Marek just clenched his teeth and refused to surrender."
Having been 'toughened up' by the cruel reality of life among jealous peers, Kozminski set his sights firmly on one goal: making it as a professional footballer with local club Hutnik Krakow.
In 1989 his objective was achieved and three successful years later he found himself representing his country at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Along with two other current internationals, Tomasz Waldoch and Piotr Swierczewski, Kozminski helped guide Poland to the final where they were narrowly beaten by a Spain side that included Luis Enrique, Josep Guardiola and Carlos Abelardo.
Despite falling at the final hurdle, every player in the squad was given a brand new 'Polonez,' the most popular saloon car in Poland at that time, as a prize for their efforts.
However, Kozminski never got the opportunity to test his new wheels as a day later he was whisked off to Udinese before sealing a £400,000 move to the Italian outfit.
Any disappointment he felt at missing out on his new vehicle was soon eased as Udinese bought him a brand new Lancia as a signing on gift.
Unlike many imports to Serie A, Kozminski adapted to the rigours of the Italian game with ease and by 1996 he was attracting the attention of, among others, Roma and AC Milan.
Giovanni Trapattoni, who was then in charge of Bayern Munich, also considered swooping for the versatile midfielder before opting for France international Bixente Lizarazu.
Just as Kozminski seemed set to seal a dream move to one of Europe's top clubs, disaster struck as a serious Achilles injury saw him ruled out of action for a year.
After returning to fitness in 1997, he joined Brescia and a year later signed a pre-contract agreement with Valencia. However, the deal fell through and he continued in Serie A.
But the lack of progression to a higher level seemed to affect Kozminski's performances and for the first time in his career he found himself surplus to requirements as Roberto Baggio assumed the mantle of playmaker at Brescia.
By the 2001-02 season, with the World Cup finals on the horizon, he was seeking a move elsewhere.
Mindful of the importance of Poland's performance in Japan and Korea, Kozminski searched for first team football and dropped a division to join Ancona for the rest of the season.
"It was a good choice," he said. "From the beginning I considered this move as an important step in my preparations for the World Cup.
"I rarely played for Brescia and for Ancona I play regularly and that is very important for every player. If I had still been seated on the bench at Brescia, Jerzy Engel could not have considered me for the World Cup squad."
And while Kozminski's club career has stalled of late, he still harbours ambitions to make an impact on the world's greatest stage.
"We would like to come back to Poland after June 30, after the final," he declared. "However, it is always hard to predict how we will do.
"On the one hand we do not have any experience in competitions like the World Cup but on the other hand we are a really unpredictable team.
"For sure we are able to be a formidable rival for any opponent and we are determined to make our presence felt in the World Cup."
As he did as a youngster growing up in 1970's Krakow, Kozminski will employ all his bullish determination to prove himself against all the odds come June.
And coach Jerzy Engel is in no doubt as to the importance of the veteran's influence on his side.
"Marek is a key player in our team," he said. "We relied on his experience during the qualification campaign and we will in the finals.
"He gives his best in every game and my team has scored so many goals from his passes.
"But he is not only a good player, he is a strong man as well. When we attack he is involved, when we defend he is involved too. Marek is a truly indispensable commodity."
South Korea may find that out for themselves when the two side's clash in Busan on Tuesday.
kOREA / pOLAND
Woon Jae Lee / Jerzy Dudek
Jin Cheul Choi / Michal Zewlakow
Nam Il Kim /Tomasz Hajto
Sang Chul Yoo / Piotr Swierczewski
Tae Young Kim / Radoslav Kaluzny
Ki Hyeon Seol / Emmanuel Olisadebe
Eul Yong Lee / Tomasz Waldoch
Sun Hong Hwang / Jacek Krzynowek
Myung Bo Hong / Maciej Murawski
Ji Sung Park / Jacek Bak
Chong Gug Song /Marek Kozminski