It’s the goal of every single international team on the planet to reach the FIFA World Cup, even this year with such a cloud of controversy hanging over it. Last night, we saw one of our biggest batches of qualifiers yet with a parade of countries ensuring they will be on the plane to Qatar this winter.
That includes Poland who, in their own backyard, managed to see off the challenge of Sweden and push through to the finals in their one-legged play-off.
It was said before, during and after the game that Poland were suffering from a string of injuries and in many instances, we saw that play out on the pitch. They were more than happy to surrender the possession advantage to the Swedes with the visitors having 61% of the ball, as well as 12 shots compared to Poland’s 10. Still, they rode out the wave, picked their moments and used precise counters to get the win.
These two teams were in the same group as one another at Euro 2020 and on June 23 of last year, they met with huge implications for the knockout stage. After the Poles had worked so unbelievably hard to get back into the tie, Sweden scored in the 94th minute with a goal that essentially served as the reason why they didn’t make the last 16. Now, months later, they’ve been able to exact some kind of revenge.
Lewandowski > Ibrahimovic
Robert Lewandowski started this fixture and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench but even with that being the case, we’d still say this night proved just how good Lewandowski is. He scored from the spot, fought through a lot of pain and was throwing himself around the pitch as much as he possibly could. Zlatan was hungry and wanted to make a difference, but this was Poland’s night.