European Qualifiers Match Day 6: England vs Poland
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Yet another round of qualifying in the European bracket for the 2022 World Cup took place overnight as matchday 6 took center stage. Groups B, C, E, I, & J all had fixtures take place. For all the latest scores, tables, and a closer look at the match of the day, please read on.
ENGLAND vs POLAND
It was the Group I clash of the titans as Poland hosted England in a match that would go a long way to determining who would take control of this group and tighten their stranglehold on that all-important top spot and automatic qualification.
England would return to what some would say is their strongest side with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips, and Harry Kane all returning to the starting lineup along with other regulars. The Polish had Juventus 'keeper Wojciech Szczesny and the prolific Robert Lewandowski up-front.
The game was once again marred by the crowd booing the English players for taking a knee before kick-off in ongoing support for the anti-racism campaign. This needs to stop. Certain parts of Europe are often the culprits for this idiotic type of 'protest to a protest'. If FIFA has any intention of proving they aren't a mercenary bleeding football dry for its millions of dollars they would take a harsh zero-tolerance policy with significant sanctions for nations whose fans participate in this kind of behavior.
In terms of the action on the pitch, it was pretty light on. The Polish had the best of the chances in a pretty lifeless first half, that was really short on entertainment. Despite this fact, the Three Lions had the most possession in the first half.
Things continued in much the same vein in the second half until the ever-reliable Harry Kane hit an absolute screamer from 30 yards to give England a lead and one foot into the World Cup in Qatar. It was an incredible 15th qualifier in a row he has scored in.
The goal kicked the game into gear as the excitement ramped up. Poland laid siege to the English goal. There were plenty of chances including a Pickford clanger that he fired into a Polish attacker, but the Everton number 1 scrambled back to save any blushes.
Their persistence paid off when Robert Lewandowski chipped in a cross from the left-wing in the 91st minute for Damian Szymanski to head in a very timely first international goal and rescue a deserved point for the hosts as it ended up 1-1.
A somewhat disappointed Gareth Southgate had this to say post-match -
"We knew that, if we could win, then we were pretty much in Qatar. We could’ve been in an even stronger position, so that is a disappointment. I don’t know what the tally was but I thought the three forwards for us were fouled a lot. Sometimes when you give an early yellow card, that means that the defender can’t make further challenges, or the next one’s red, and both of those things might have been possible. I was a bit surprised at times but it’s gone.”
Elsewhere Germany flexed their muscle as they continued their return to form under Hansi Flick with a 4-0 victory away to Iceland. Italy continued their world record undefeated streak with a 5-0 demolition job of Lithuania and Spain knocked over Kosovo 2-0 at the Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri with Pablo Fornals scoring on his international debut.
Group B: Kosovo 0-2 Spain, Greece 2-1 Sweden
Group C: Northern Ireland 0-0 Switzerland, Italy 5-0 Lithuania
Group E: Belarus 0-1 Belgium, Wales0-0 Estonia
Group I: Hungary 2-1 Andorra, Albania 5-0 San Marino, Poland 1-1 England
Group J: Armenia 1-1 Liechtenstein, North Macedonia 0-0 Romania, Iceland 0-4 Germany
IMAGES COURTESY OF UEFA.COM
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