Hypothetical XI Teaser: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

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I wrote a piece for the good people at the false nine. It’s part of their series on hypothetical XI’s. See link at bottom for access to full article.

I realise that by even starting this piece I have tumbled headlong into the world of football geekdom but I suppose there are worse things to fall into. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was an enormous realm whose star shone brightly from the mid-16th century to the end of the 18th century. Approximately twice the size of modern Spain, the Commonwealth at one point stretched across the territories of eight modern states in Central and Eastern Europe.

It was a state that was characterised by high levels of political participation, the so-called ‘Noble republic’ with an elected monarchy. The Commonwealth was also renowned for its religious tolerance.  Here Roman, Armenian and Greek Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Eastern Orthodox believers and Muslims lived side by side, an island of relative harmony at a time when Europe was tearing itself apart in a series of fierce religious wars.

From the middle of the 17th century onwards the Commonwealth was weakened by Swedish invasions and Cossack uprisings and by the time it was partitioned by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795 the state was politically divided and economically weak.

The Commonwealth is long dead but what would happen if, just for a while, they pooled their resources to produce a single football team? Would they be world-beaters or would they be racked by internal division as they were at the end of the eighteenth century*?  It’s my task to find out.

(*disclaimer – I have used the boundaries of the Commonwealth before the first partition of Poland in 1772)

Want to see who made the cut? Follow this link to find out

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