Poland 2-0 Sweden: The show in the second half takes Poland through
Poland qualified for a second FIFA World Cup in a row after brushing off Sweden in their play-off final in Chorzow.
49 ‘ Karlström traps Krychowiak in the area
51 ‘ Lewandowski beats Olsen from place
57 ‘ Szczęsny denies Forsberg
72 ‘ Zieliński ends up in second place
Match in brief: Poland progress with strike in second half
There were few chances in a cash first half, even though Sweden’s Emil Forsberg was denied by Wojciech Szczęsny and Matty Cash shot outside at the other end.
Grzegorz Krychowiak was introduced in the break and made an immediate impact when he was fouled in the area by Jesper Karlström, and Robert Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot.
Sweden pressed for a draw and Szczęsny denied Forsberg again before Piotr Zieliński took advantage of a mistake on the back to double the home lead.
There could have been more goals for the hosts but Robin Olsen saved well from powerful Jan Bednarek and Lewandowski nod.
Piotr Koźmiński, Polish reporter
A well-deserved victory for Poland. They improved in the second half and two of their key men stood up to be counted. Lewandowski proved once again that he is a fantastic striker and captain and Zieliński finally lived up to the fans’ expectations. Only two matches into his Polish period and Czesław Michniewicz already has the biggest moment in his coaching career when Poland once again trumps Silesian Stadium.
Sujay Dutt, Sweden Reporter
During a large part of the match, Sweden was the side that wanted to score, but Poland’s goalkeeper Szczęsny kept his side in place with saves in both halves. Then a misplaced Karlström challenge gave Poland the penalty that Lewandowski sent off before a defensive stop gave them the opportunity to double their lead. Sweden’s last roll of the dice was to introduce Zlatan Ibrahimović and Anthony Elanga, but neither the 40-year-old nor the teenager could change the result.
Robert Lewandowski, Poland striker, speaks with UEFA.com: “We have had many problems before this match. Many of our players were injured, including me, I had knee problems. We suffered, but now we can celebrate. I am proud and happy.”
Czesław Michniewicz, Poland’s coach, speaks UEFA.com: “It’s a special night not only for me, but for the whole of Polish football. Let’s not forget that some of our players probably have their last chance to play in the World Cup finals and I’m so glad they will not miss it. “A really good night.”
Janne Andersson, Sweden coach, speaks TV4: “I am extremely disappointed. This was a match we had within reach. We created chances but did not score. Until their penalty, we had the match under control. But we simply have to score from our chances.”
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden forward, speaks TV4: “Everyone is disappointed. It’s normal when you lose. Everyone wants to play in the World Cup, but unfortunately that will not happen.”
- Lewandowski’s penalty was the first goal that Poland scored at home against Sweden, after losing all three previous meetings without scoring.
- A 75th international goal placed the Polish captain in third place on UEFA’s international points list of all time, on a par with Sándor Kocsis and behind only Ferenc Puskás (84) and Cristiano Ronaldo (115).
Europe’s World Cup qualifier
Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland.
The World Cup draw will take place on Friday 1 April in Doha, starting at 19:00 local time (mainland Europe is one hour behind, Great Britain and Portugal two hours).
Poland: Szczęsny; Bielik, Glik, Bednarek; Cash, Góralski (Krychowiak 46), Moder, Bereszyński; Zieliński (Buksa 89), Szymański; Lewandowski.
Sweden: Olsen; Krafth, Lindelöf, Danielson (Ibrahimovic 80), Augustinsson; Kulusevski, Karlström (Svanberg 67), K Olsson (Karlsson), Forsberg; Isaac, Quaison (Elanga 67).