England Faces Tricky Trip to Poland
Last updated: September 7, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||England 2 – 1 Poland|
|Competition:||World Cup Qualifiers|
England travels to the Stadion Narodowy in Poland in a match that is likely to decide who tops their World Cup qualifying group. The Three Lions have a five-point cushion over their hosts, but Poland’s prolific striker Robert Lewandowski will be available after missing the game at Wembley through injury.
After the heartbreak of losing in the final of Euro 2020, England has bounced back well, winning both games in their qualifying group for the World Cup, which starts in Qatar in November next year. After five games, they have fifteen points and a 100% record which is matched only by Denmark in the European qualifiers.
That said, England could hardly have wished for an easier group with tomorrow’s hosts, on paper at least, the only team that should pose much of a problem for England. Along with Poland, Group I contains Albania (69th ranked), Hungary (37th ranked), Andorra (156th) and San Marino (209th).
However, as the old football adage goes, you can only beat what is in front of you, and in that respect, it has been a successful week for the Three Lions with back-to-back 4-0 wins.
The first was against Hungary, which is likely to be remembered more for the racist abuse aimed at some England players rather than the football itself. Nevertheless, England scored all their goals in the second half, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice all finding the net.
It was all change in the second game England played against Andorra; Gareth Southgate had one eye on the Poland fixture and made eleven changes to the starting lineup. 28-year old Patrick Bamford was given his England debut, the Leeds United man was given 62 minutes on the pitch and managed two shots on goal.
The headlines, however, belonged to Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard. A peripheral figure at club level, the 28-year-old put in a great performance, scooping the man-of-the-match award with two goals and an assist. It will be interesting to see if Southgate rewards Lingard with a start against Poland due to his display. The other goals in the win were scored by Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
Like England, Poland started their World Cup qualification campaign in March and surprisingly, they struggled in their first game, only managing a 3-3 draw with Hungary, who England beat 4-0 last week. However, it could have been worse for the Poles had Lewandowski not scored in the 83rd minute to salvage the draw.
They then had a routine 3-0 win against Andorra before losing 2-1 against England at Wembley. Harry Kane opened the scoring from the spot in the 19th minute before Jakub Moder levelled the scores in the 58th minute. The game was settled in England’s favour thanks to a Harry Maguire goal with five minutes left to play.
This week’s games have been much more routine, a 4-1 win at home against Albania before a goal frenzy in the 7-1 destruction of San Marino. Lewandowski scored twice in that game but was overshadowed by teammate Adam Buksa who scored a second-half hattrick. The 25-year-old plays his club football for New England Revolution in the MLS. Buksa has been touted as a potential successor for Lewandowski, and he has helped his cause by scoring four in two games.
Midfielder Damian Szymanski is one to watch in midfield for the Poles. The 25-year-old plays his club football for AEK Athens and played well in the game against San Marino, achieving an 86.7% successful passing rate and was unlucky not to score with one of his four shots on goal.
Robert Lewandowski was injured for the Wembley clash but will feature for this game. The 33-year-old has scored 19 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season.
Poland’s manager Paulo Sousa has switched between a back four and back five; it’s unclear which formation he will choose for the visit of England.
Gareth Southgate made 11 changes for the Andorra game. However, he is likely to revert back to the team that started against Hungary.
Despite Jesse Lingard scoring two and assisting in the Andorra game, he is likely to be on the bench for the Poland game.
|Poland (3-5-2):||Szczesny, Bednarek, Glik, Dawidowicz, Jozwiak, Krychowiak, Moder, Linetty, Rybus, Lewandowski, Buksa|
|Subs:||Skorupski, Walukiewicz, Karbownik, Reca, Rybus, Kozłowski, Wass, Milik, Buksa, Piątek, Frankowski, Slisz|
|England (4-2-3-1):||Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Grealish, Kane, Sterling|
|Subs:||Johnstone, James, Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Coady, Bellingham, Bamford, Saka, Lingard|
So Far This Season
|Poland This Season||England This Season|
|1 – 7 v San Marino||Biggest Win||5 – 0 v San Marino|
|0 (0)||Draws (away)||0 (0)|
|2-1 v England||Biggest Defeat||—|
|Lewandowski (6)||Top Goal Scorer||Kane (4)|
|Y5, R0||Discipline||Y5, R0|
|0||Failures to Score||0|
|80%||Both Teams to Score Games||20%|
|100%||Over 2.5 Goals||80%|
|0%||Under 2.5 Goals||20%|
- Games involving Poland tend to have plenty of goals; there have been over 2.5 goals in 17 of their last 18 World Cup games.
- Poland scored seven on the road against San Marino in their last game. Adam Buksa scored a second-half hattrick.
- England has won five of their last six against Poland in all competitions and has scored at least two in the last five.
- Harry Kane’s goal against Andorra puts him in fifth place on the Three Lions’ all-time list of goalscorers.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|31/03/2021||World Cup Q||England 2 – 1 Poland||Kane 19’|
|15/10/2013||World Cup||England 2 – 0 Poland||Rooney 41’|
|17/10/2012||World Cup||Poland 1 – 1 England||Rooney 31’|
|12/10/2005||World Cup Q||England 2 – 1 Poland||Owen 44’|
|8/09/2004||World Cup Q||Poland 1 – 2 England||Defoe 37’|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
It’s no surprise that Poland are England’s main threat in Group I, and although one man doesn’t make the team, Robert Lewandowski comes pretty close and just like Ronaldo and Messi, he shows that age is just a number. The 33-year-old has scored 6 in the last four games and also made two assists. So it would be a surprise if the Bayern Munich star is not on the scoresheet in this game.
England has enjoyed a 100% record in qualifying and has only failed to win once in 15 games in all competitions. In Harry Kane, England has a striker who is just as feared as Lewandowski, and you can envisage this game being a battle of the strikers. However, unlike Poland, England also has a supporting cast with players like Raheem Sterling, who can step up to the plate if their talisman is having an off day.
The Three Lions have had the upper hand against Poland for many years, last suffering defeat in a World Cup qualifier in 1973, a run that has spanned 17 games, and we expect the pattern to continue here. At 3/5 with William Hill there is very little value in the England win, our tip would be over 2.5 goals which is available @ 11/10.