World Cup qualifiers – Poland vs Sweden
Playoffs Final – Path B
It was touted as Zlatan vs Lewandowski. However, the contest at the Silesian Stadium in Poland, was what separated one of the nations from the World Cup. On this occasion, it happened to be Sweden following a 2-0 loss.
Despite going in as the favourites, hosts Poland were not able to control the game. Sweden, however, could score to show for their dominance.
Towards the start of the second half, Lewandowski converted a penalty to put the hosts up. From then on, the contest changed drastically. Sweden was unsuccessful in chasing a goal and the nail in the coffin came through Zielinski’s 72nd minute goal.
World Cup qualifiers – Poland vs Sweden: Match report
Full-time score: Poland 2-0 Sweden.
Poland starting lineup (3-4-1-2): Szczęsny— Bielik, Glik, Bednarek— Cash, Goralski, Moder, Bereszyński— Zieliński, Szymański, Lewandowski.
Subs: Busa, Krychowiak.
Scorers: Lewandowski 49’ (P), Zielinski 72’.
Sweden starting lineup (4-4-2): Olsen — Augustinsson, Lindelof, Danielson, Krafth — Forsberg, Karlstrom, Olsson, Kulusevski – Quaison, Isak.
Subs: Ibrahimovic, Karlsson, Elanga, Svanberg.
Czesław Michniewicz, Poland coach: “It is special night not only for me, but for the whole of Polish football. Let’s not forget that some of our players have probably their last chance to play in the World Cup finals and I am so happy they will not miss out. A great night, indeed.
“What did I change after 45 minutes? We picked ten actions from the first half, five good and five bad. We showed it to the players, explaining what we would try to repeat and what we should avoid in the second half. And it worked out well.”
Janne Andersson, Sweden coach: “I’m enormously disappointed. This was a match we had within our reach. We created chances but didn’t score. Up until their penalty, we had the match under control. But we simply have to score from our chances.
“Nothing went our way tonight. But one has to make sure that things go one’s way. You can’t blame other circumstances.”
Robert Lewandowski, Poland striker: “We have had many problems before this match. A lot of our players were injured, including me, I had problem with knee. We suffered, but now we can celebrate. I am proud and happy.”
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden forward: “An even match. In the first half, we had some chances where we could have scored. They had too. In the second half they scored an early goal and we’re left chasing. It could just as well have ended with a win for us.
“Everyone is disappointed. That’s normal when losing. Everyone wants to play in the World Cup, but unfortunately that won’t happen.”