Poles Peg England Back At Death

Last updated : 08 September 2021 By Three Lions

England faced up to their toughest test of World Cup qualification on Wednesday evening with a partisan home crowd cheering on opponents Poland in Warsaw.

England Badge with Three Lions logo

Gareth Southgate's side went into the game with five straight wins under their belt on the road to the 2022 tournament and knowing that an unbeaten 90 minutes would all but confirm their place in the finals.

As expected they had to withstand some early Polish pressure, talismanic home striker Robert Lewandowski looking to ignite the 56,000+ in the stadium and keep his country's hopes of taking top spot in the group alive.

But, one half-chance for Lewandowski apart, England kept their nerve and ended the first 45 minutes with their first sustained spell of pressure in the home half, a pattern that was continued after the break as both Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling saw plenty of the ball in wide areas without being able to fashion a clear-cut opportunity.

Patience was the watchword for the visitors and they were rewarded with 20 minutes remaining when captain Harry Kane picked up the ball outside the penalty area and, with no challenge forthcoming, let fly with a swerving shot that deceived Szczesny in the Polish goal.

It was a 41st international goal for Kane to move him a step closer to another Tottenham hero, Jimmy Greaves in the all-time England goalscorer lists.

With the home side looking to have run their race, the only threat to the England goal came from themselves as Jordan Pickford waited a fraction too long with a clearance that was charged down and saw the Everton man hare back towards his net to try and keep yet another clean sheet intact.

But Pickford was finally beaten in stoppage time as Poland fashioned one more chance, Lewandowski crossing for Szymanski to crash in a header.

It means Gareth Southgate's side lose their 100% record but remain unbeaten and with a four-point cushion over Albania in their qualification group and their hardest remaining fixture completed without defeat.