For Poland, Lato has been capped a (then) record of 100 times between 1971 and 1984; he scored 45 goals, third-best in national history behind Włodzimierz Lubański and Robert Lewandowski. Other than the 1974 World Cup, where he scored seven goals, also played in the 1978 and 1982 editions. Lato won the gold medal for Poland at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the silver medal in 1976. He spent most of his club career with Stal Mielec. Later he moved into KSC Lokeren (Belgium). Lato also played in Mexico in the 1982-83 season for Atlante, where he scored 15 goals. He also spent a little time in Canada, playing for Polonia Hamilton in the late 1980s in the oldtimers division in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
After his career as a player Lato coached several Polish clubs. He coached Greek side Kavala in the 1997/1998-season.
Lato was also a senator in his native Poland and president of the Polish FA.