England – Poland: Resounding England win sees them take control of the group as visitors lose their second successive game
After that late, late Swedish winner in Stockholm a month earlier, the table was shaping up nicely, albeit the Polish will have been very anxious to get something out of their trip to Wembley; they could ill afford a second straight defeat. England had shown glimpses of their quality in their opening three matches, but first and foremost they had been playing a high pressure game, which had seemed to install a bit of fear into their opponents, although their two wins so far had come against minnows Albania. Poland had not been poor in Sweden, but they had conceded deep into injury time and gifted their opponents a crucial extra point in the quest for qualification.
England team news
England were still having nightmares about Jan Tomaszewski, the great Polish goalkeeping legend who had thwarted them at Wembley back in October ’73: his performance in the 1-1 match had meant that England would sit out the 1974 World Cup in West Germany with Poland participating at their expence. Tomaszewski had played a stunner and kept his team in it, and had frustrated the English time and again. England had to wait until the 1986 World Cup in Mexico to put things right against the Polish: Lineker had scored a hat-trick to make England advance from the group stage with a comprehensive 3-0 win. However, rather than facing Poland on neutral ground, they were now back in the stadium where Polish goalkeeping heroics had denied them World Cup access. There was still fear among the English that history might repeat itself.
Bobby Robson had so far kept faith with mainly the same players from one match to another. There was little need to alternate much, although he would have available to him again Liverpool’s flying winger Barnes, who had chosen not to play against Albania as it had been so short after the horrible Hillsborough tragedy. The tragic events in Sheffield had rocked Barnes to the core. He was still very much a big part in Mr Robson’s plans, and so, being back in the squad, the Jamaica born wide man would re-take his starting place, meaning Arsenal’s Rocastle would have to give way. Lineker, who during the season had often featured in a wide right position under Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, was again Robson’s natural choice as his most forward striker, with Beardsley again playing just off him in the ‘hole’. Barnes’ inclusion was the only change from the starting eleven against Albania. This meant that starlet Gascoigne, who had had a very fine first season with Tottenham in the English capital after moving down from Newcastle in the North East, would have to settle for a place among the substitutes. In the heart of the English defence, Walker kept his place alongside Butcher despite some neck trouble prior to the game.
Poland team news
Poland boss Łazarek had made two changes to the starting eleven from Råsunda: out went right back Soczyński and forward Dziekanowski. In came Wijas and Leśniak, both of whom would be appearing for the first time during these qualifiers. Whereas Wijas had featured in Polish friendlies both in Latin America and against Romania, Leśniak had not been summoned into national team action since a trip to Cyprus in November ’87, a European Championship qualifier. Wijas of Katowice was expected to take the right back berth, thus being the third player Łazarek had used in this position during their first three matches. Leśniak, a forward plying his trade in West Germany, would be a direct replacement for Dziekanowski as Furtok’s partner up top. On the bench was among others Tarasiewicz, who had scored Poland’s goal in Sweden. Another substitute was winger Jacek Ziober, who had recently been charged with killing a pedestrian whilst driving under the influence. He had been placed under house arrest the previous month, but received dispensation in order to make the journey to England.
Missing for their second successive qualifier was elegant midfielder Andrzej Rudy. He’d defected to the West less than a month after their 1-0 home win against Albania in October ’88, and had been banned from playing by the Polish FA. He appeared to be a big loss in the centre of the pitch.
Referee was experienced Italian Agnolin, 46 years of age, his 19th international. He had never previously been to Wembley in an officiating capacity, but had been in charge of two matches during the ’86 World Cup: Soviet Union’s famous 6-0 mauling of Hungary during the group stages and also West Germany’s 2-0 semi-final victory against the fancied French. One of his linesmen was an almost equally distinguished referee in Tullio Lanese, a 42 year old who had six internationals behind him as referee, and who was touted as an Italian candidate for next year’s World Cup on home soil.
This was just the sixth meeting in history between the two countries. Their most recent encounter had come during the 1986 World Cup, almost exactly three years earlier, when England had won 3-0 courtesy of a Gary Lineker first half hat-trick, in order to proceed to the knock-out stage along with Poland. This was the teams’ first clash at Wembley since that famous 1-1 in 1973, when Jan Tomaszewski’s goalkeeping heroics had earnt Poland qualification for the 1974 World Cup at England’s expense. England had a 2-2-1 record since their first ever meeting in a January ’66 friendly (1-1).
|1 Peter Shilton||39||Derby|
|2 Gary Stevens||26||Rangers|
|3 Stuart Pearce||27||Nottingham|
|4 Neil Webb||25||Nottingham|
|5 Des Walker||ca 51′||23||Nottingham|
|6 Terry Butcher||30||Rangers|
|7 Bryan Robson (c)||32||Manchester United|
|8 Chris Waddle||sub 77′||28||Tottenham|
|9 Peter Beardsley||sub 77′||28||Liverpool|
|10 Gary Lineker||28||Barcelona|
|11 John Barnes||25||Liverpool|
|12 Paul Parker||25||QPR|
|13 Chris Woods||29||Rangers|
|14 Paul Gascoigne||22||Tottenham|
|15 David Rocastle||on 77′||22||Arsenal|
|16 Alan Smith||on 77′||26||Arsenal|
|1 Jarosław Bako||10′||24||ŁKS Łódź|
|2 Jerzy Wijas||22||Katowice|
|3 Roman Wójcicki||31||Homburg|
|4 Dariusz Wdowczyk||26||Legia Warszawa|
|5 Damian Łukasik||25||Lech Poznań|
|6 Waldemar Matysik||27||Auxerre|
|7 Waldemar Prusik (c)||27||Śląsk Wrocław|
|8 Jan Urban||sub 71′||27||Górnik Zabrze|
|9 Jan Furtok||27||Hamburg|
|10 Krzysztof Warzycha||24||Ruch Chorzów|
|11 Marek Leśniak||sub 61′||25||Bayer Leverkusen|
|12 Ryszard Jankowski||29||Lech Poznań|
|13 Piotr Soczyński||22||ŁKS Łódź|
|14 Ryszard Tarasiewicz||on 71′||27||Śląsk Wrocław|
|15 Jacek Ziober||23||ŁKS Łódź|
|16 Roman Kosecki||on 61′||23||Legia Warszawa|
Łazarek springs a bit of a surprise by letting captain Prusik take the right-back position from kick-off. Wijas was thought to have played there, but he will take up a defensive midfield position early on and right through until the first English goal, when the pair will swap their positions, taking Prusik back into midfield where one feels he belongs. Wijas’ role appears to be one of looking after Beardsley, who is again clearly the deeper of the two central English forwards. Prusik is keeping a close watch on Barnes. The Polish left-back, Wdowczyk, is again equipped with a license to join in attack, although he has less operating space due to the aggression in the English play. Wójcicki, who has been seen as a deep sweeper before, plays just behind Łukasik, who is marking Lineker, a task which he had also had when Lech Poznań had met Barcelona in the Cup Winners’ Cup earlier in the season.
With Wijas never straying too far away from the area in which Beardsley is operating, the Polish central midfield sits deep, as Matysik also has a preferance of patrolling the rear edges of the Polish central areas. They play with two wide men, although Urban has a greater tendency than Warzycha on the right to come inside. Warzycha, the leading goalscorer in the Polish league in the 88/89 season, seems to be Łazarek’s favourite right winger. Urban had held the captaincy in their opening qualifier against Albania, but in both their away matches in Sweden and here in England, the manager had opted for Prusik as his captain. The two strikers are operating almost in line, perhaps with Furtok in a slightly more advanced position than Leśniak, who is also no stranger to look to the wide positions.
England have previously seen Webb operating in a little more withdrawn role than Robson. This time around Webb is seemingly given greater freedom of expression than his captain, and he does seem to prefer orientating himself towards the right hand side of the pitch, although not interfering with Waddle’s position on the right wing. Webb sees more use of the corridor inside of Waddle. The latter, however, who has often been seen coming into the centre and also across to the other side of the pitch in their earlier matches, this time concentrates mainly on his right wing task, even if he does come in field on a couple of occasions. Lineker is really on fire this time around, and he works well in his striker’s role pulling with him Łukasik into the channels. In stretching the Polish central defence, he opens up space for Beardsley and Webb. In addition, they also have balls delievered into the area from wide positions, so there is a lot of different dangers that the Polish defence needs to handle.
Start of second half:
Having been bossed for the majority of the first half, Łazarek realizes he needs to take action during the half time break, and Poland reappear for the second half in a 4-5-1, with Leśniak being pulled into a wide left position, and with Urban coming inside in order to try and prevent the strong English grip on midfield. It leads to Prusik taking up the role opposite of the deeper-lying Matysik, and it clearly has an effect, as Poland are never overrun like they were in the opening 45 minutes. Matysik appears more effective in a deeper role, and it is left to Furtok to try and deal with the English central defenders more or less on his own. However, both Urban and Prusik are doing their utmost to assist from midfield, and both wide players are also contributing. Poland get their shape back after the switch in formation. Clearly a good piece of ingenuity by Łazarek, sporting a beige suit for the occasion.
After all four substitutions had been made:
England’s two replacements were straight swaps. Lanky striker Smith would appear behind Lineker, even if he was not considered to have the same creative skills possessed by the man he had replaced in Beardsley. Barnes had not been utilized a great deal throughout the second half, as England often kept play down their right hand side, where the lively Waddle had eventually been replaced by Rocastle, who played a big part in the final goal. Interestingly, Webb kept being the more attacking of the two English central midfielders throughout, and he would get his reward as he side-footed home the third home goal.
Poland substitute Kosecki came on for Leśniak in the left wing role, but would also appear down the opposite touchline, even if K Warzycha rarely strayed from his position out wide right. The second substitute, Tarasiewicz, slotted into Urban’s role, but as opposed to the man he had replaced, he sought to come deep and collect the ball in order to build attacks. His predecessor had been less ball-seeking, rather trying to exploit areas further up field. Prusik was for most of the second half quite keen to come across towards left of the centre from his inside right-half position. Furtok did his best to be a menace to the English central defenders, but often fought a losing battle. Matysik was pushed further aback after the break, and seemed to thrive better in a deeper role than one of being more or less in line with Prusik during the opening 45 minutes.
It is the visitors who kick the game off through their two strikers Furtok and Leśniak. Poland will surely have studied the English’ three opening group matches, yet they decide to try and play it short between themselves right away, seemingly oblivious to the tigerishness of the English midfielders, personified through Webb and captain Robson. The England central midfield duo work hard to win possession immediately, and Matysik and Furtok are soon lost under heavy pressure. Webb will proceed to release Waddle down the right, although Wdowczyk appears to be in control of the situation, having a yard’s advantage on the home number 8. However, as the pair race towards the Polish byline, the visitors’ left-back is under so much pressure from Waddle that he has to concede the first corner after only a few seconds of play. The Poles might have studied England’s games for all it’s worth, but putting theory into practice isn’t necessarily the easiest manoeuvre. Will the visitors recognize this early wake-up call?
This is the first meeting between the two countries since the head to head in Monterrey three years earlier. England had won 3-0 thanks to that Lineker hat-trick, but still the memories from that 1-1 in ’73 was playing in the back of the English’ minds. They seemed to have a great appetite for their visitors, and so set out to dictate proceedings. Poland had, surprisingly, placed captain Prusik in the right back spot. He had been in the centre of midfield alongside Matysik in Sweden, but here the number 2 Wijas appeared as Matysik’s compatriot. At least in the early stages. Łazarek plan for Prusik was to try and stifle Barnes’ willingness to put crosses into the box, whilst Wijas sat deep in order to try and keep a watchful eye on Beardsley. The Polish seem a bit overwhelmed by the extreme English aggression levels, and this will lead to Wijas playing a stray pass less than 30 yards out from Bako’s goal. Waddle can pick up the loose ball and have a go, but it is Wijas himself who recovers in time to get a block in. The signs are clear: England are looking for an early goal.
The English really are all over Poland in the first few minutes. Barnes attempts some wizardry as he receives the ball a few yards inside the Polish half and advances through an inside right position. He takes on one Pole after another, and it takes Wijas, the fourth man in red attempting to halt Barnes’ run towards the penalty area, to stop him. Illegally. Beardsley’s resulting free-kick from 20 yards is blocked away for a corner kick from the right hand side, and this is another test to Polish resolve: How do they cope with England in the air? Butcher appears to be the man they fear the most. The towering Rangers centre back is more than a handful in aerial challenges. It seems to be libero Wójcicki’s task to mark him. The first English corner is eventually cleared, but Warzycha will then lose the ball to Butcher a few yards inside his own half, and the defender’s tackle sees the ball find the feet of Beardsley, who treads Lineker through the centre. An outstretched leg from Wijas denies the Barcelona forward. Just. Poland are living a charmed life. England are applying all the pressure. And the game’s only a few minutes old.
On ten minutes Polish goalkeeper Bako is probably fortunate to escape with a booking as he brings down the advancing Lineker just outside his own area. Robson had won a tackle in midfield, and Beardsley had played his forward partner in. However, as Lineker was about to take the ball round Bako, the ‘keeper felled him with an outstretched leg. Mr Agnolin, the referee, showed Bako the yellow card, and Beardsley’s subsequent free-kick clears the crossbar by a yard or so. Earlier both Lineker with a header and Waddle had had attempts at goal, so the English had created a flurry of chances with the match yet in its infancy. The likelihood of the hosts keeping this extreme pace and aggression up was perhaps not great, but the longer they managed to heap pressure on the shell-shocked visitors, the greater the chance of an opening goal.
What Poland are struggling to handle, is the excellent English movement: Every player plays with a spring in his step, and there is a lot of movability off the ball. Lineker, who appears to be a lot stronger than he was at the start of England’s qualification campaign, is attended to by the big Łukasik, but he takes the Lech Poznań man out wide time and again, creating openings for others. Amidst the English pressure, there’s also an unlikely Polish counter, leading to a right wing corner after an Urban shot had been cleared behind his goal by Pearce. Warzycha’s flag kick finds the unmarked Leśniak beyond the far post, and his header back across the goal is met by Urban, whose commanding header just goes over Shilton’s crossbar. It would have felt like great injustice had Poland gone ahead with their second attempt at goal. Earlier Furtok had had a tame effort from out wide right easily caught by Shilton. Then Lineker accepts another through ball, this time from Barnes, sees his first attempt blocked by a combination of Łukasik and Bako, but he picks up the rebound and slots it home from a difficult angle. England have the opening goal, and it is richly deserved after their early dominance.
It is not like England are intending to sit back and play safe after their goal. They keep coming onto the Poles wave after wave: a Barnes cross from the left is headed behind for a left wing corner by Łukasik, and Beardsley’s set-piece kick is flicked into Webb’s path by Barnes. The Nottingham midfielder’s point blank header goes straight at Bako, who is fortunate. Then Robson has a great tackle against Warzycha to feed the ball into the path of the lively Barnes, whose left-foot effort clears the ‘keeper’s bar by a yard. And soon Lineker, yet again, heads Webb’s cross into the side netting. The Wembley audience can hardly believe what they’re seeing. Poland have tried a tactical switch by changing positions for Wijas and captain Prusik, and just before the half time whistle this will almost yield a goal: Warzycha gets a cross in from the right hand side, and from his midfield position Prusik on the far post tries to steer the ball into the far corner. With Shilton beaten, Walker appears more or less on the goal line to head the ball away to safety. Yet again Poland muster an opening, but England are still to concede a goal during the qualifiers. The hosts will be happy to go into the half-time talk being ahead, but a 1-0 lead is never secure, and Poland have on two occasions showed that they’re capable of punishing any lapse in English concentration.
After a half in which they had been completely bossed, Poland enter the pitch for the second half with the same crew, yet manager Łazarek has made a tactical change: They had been run to shreds by the English during the opening 45 minutes, so the Polish boss has switched from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1. Furtok takes the sole forward role, with Leśniak coming wide to the left of midfield, meaning Urban moves into a midfield half role. This further pushes Matysik back into a holding role, whilst captain Prusik will originally be to his right. Poland could not afford another half in which they kept losing territory, so Mr Łazarek has made a bold decision stating his intent. And the early exchanges in the final half do bring about a lot more promise for the visitors. They might not create an awful lot themselves, but at least they are less prone to handing the hosts opportunities, even if the creative mind of Waddle from the English right hand side finds both Lineker and Barnes with deft passes inside the first few minutes: Lineker has been followed into the area by Matysik, but with ‘keeper Bako coming out to face him and narrow the angle for which the striker has to aim at, all the Barcelona man can do is chip his finish into the side netting. Barnes can not quite get to Waddle’s next invention, with Bako coming out to thwart him. However, apart from these opportunities, England are unable to reproduce what had been in the first half.
There is a second yellow card of the game produced when home defender Walker brings Leśniak to the ground. However, the defender’s action comes as a result of the Polish forward tugging Walker’s arm back, and the Italian referee has chosen to award the home team a free-kick for this. Yet, as Walker retributes, Mr Agnolin shows him the yellow card. In fairness to the referee, it was Walker’s second foul committed in the opening exchanges of the second half, as he had only minutes earlier also brought down Furtok in the same area wide right inside the English half.
The dominant first half could be a big part of the reason why England seem to be a shade of themselves in the first half of the second period. The Polish have indeed raised their game, there’s no doubt about that, aided by the change in tactics, but one could not help but feeling that England felt they had already done the hard part of their job. If anything, they needed to be sprung into action; they needed something of a wake-up call. Perhaps it could come after Urban had gone rather close to equalizing? Matysik, of all people, had played a fine pass for Leśniak inside the area, and before Pearce could get a tackle in to win the ball from him, the forward had shifted the ball into Urban’s path. The midfielder was faced towards the English goal and got his shot in, but Walker threw himself in and made a block, deflecting the ball out for a corner as it whistled just past Shilton’s right hand post. Urban held his head in his hand seeing he had come within a whisker of bringing the scores level. Flag kicks were the responsibility of K Warzycha, who swung corner kicks outwards with his right foot from the right wing, usually aimed at the big central defenders who would come up from the back. Both Wójcicki and Łukasik appeared to be a handful in the air, though the visitors would never create great opportunities directly from set-pieces, apart from when England had left Leśniak unmarked beyond the far post in the first half.
With about a quarter of an hour gone in the second half, it is the visitors who make the first change in personnel: Kosecki gets his first air time of the qualifiers when he replaces Leśniak. It is a straight swap, with the Legia front runner slotting in at the left hand side of midfield. Kosecki is refered to as something of a ‘playboy’ in this period of time; perhaps it is his long hair which has the female fans excited? Kosecki has a bit of pace about him, and he makes a couple of bursts down the left hand side in order to challenge the solid Stevens for pace. Despite the vast improvement in Polish possession after the break, they do struggle to create much in way of opportunities in front of Shilton. Poland are often orientated towards the left hand side of the pitch, and Prusik seems to be eager to join with Urban in creating a numerical advantage in these areas. However, both Waddle and Webb take big shifts in trying to dent Polish attacking intent, so it usually leads to little in terms of problem for Stevens.
If the visitors are bent on making inroads down their left hand side, the home team also seem to prefer this side of the pitch. Usually, it is the enigmatic Waddle who will guide the ball into Polish quarters, and he will look for Lineker despite the latter being attended to by big Łukasik. Lineker is very energetic, and keeps attempting to pull his marker out into wide positions. Barnes is rarely trusted into action inside the first 20-25 minutes of the second half. And further behind him, Pearce also has limited opportunities to put crosses into the box, a weapon which had proved very efficient against Albania in their most recent qualifier. Also, just behind Lineker, Beardsley was not having his best match, very rarely being able to influence the game. A good example of the talented forward’s wastefulness was when England broke three on two. With Webb to his left and Lineker to his right, Beardsley’s final ball came late and went straight into the feet of Łukasik, thus spoiling a very good opportunity. He would later be one of two Englishmen to make way when Mr Robson elected to bring on Arsenal men Rocastle and Smith. However, taking off the lively Waddle seemed a strange decision, though it could be argued with that the Tottenham wide man was tiring. And at this point England had increased their lead when a forward pass by Waddle had been headed down by Lineker into the path of Stevens, who came forward and crossed from his right hand side. The ball in was perfect for Barnes, who side-footed home on the far post, free from any attention by Wijas. Only a couple of minutes earlier, Waddle had threatened Bako with a low shot after he had turned Urban and cut inside from his wide right position. The ‘keeper had diverted the ball out for an English corner from the right hand side. Polish resistance was beginning to wane.
Having gone 2-0 down, Łazarek chose to take Urban off for Tarasiewicz, the man who had scored that sensational free-kick goal in Sweden the previous month. The substitute is a different kind of player to the man he had replaced: Whereas Urban likes to roam forward and seek opportunities between the opposition’s full-back and right-sided central defender, Tarasiewicz is more of a playmaking type, seeking deep to collect the ball in order to pick out a team mate further up the field. Perhaps was he what Poland needed now? Though, having fallen two goals behind, the writing was on the wall for the visitors. Could they come back from the dead? England had yet to concede a single goal in the qualifiers, and so seemed very confident that they would pull through with both points in the bag. 2-0 was a massive scoreline for them and one which only brought them even closer towards the finishing line.
England manager Robson take off both Waddle and Beardsley at the same time, replacing them with Rocastle and Smith respectively. It does appear, perhaps a tad surprisingly, that Smith goes straight into the deeper forward role that Beardsley had been occupying without much success. The workmanlike Rocastle is a splendid alternative to Waddle on the right hand side of midfield. By now Poland are unable to make inroads into the English defence, and seven minutes from time an uncharacteristic error by big Wójcicki will make sure England wrap the game up: He tries to play the ball back to Bako inside his own half, but the pass is too short and is snapped up by the opportunistic Lineker, who had been lurking in the Polish libero’s blind spot. The England number 10 plays it back to Rocastle, who had been the one initially putting Wójcicki under pressure, and his low ball into the six yard box is deflected off both goalkeeper Bako and substitute Smith, straight into the path of Webb, who has an easy task of guiding it into an empty net.
Completely satisfied, the English see the game out, and there is not a lot happening in the final few minutes, apart from when Furtok takes on a low cross from the right hand side by Warzycha, and he cleverly attempts to turn both Stevens and Walker, though as he is about to strike, the central defender gets a tackle in and clears it out for a left wing corner. Had Walker not made the tackle, Robson probably would have got there in time before Furtok would strike anyway. At the other end, Webb has a shot from 25 yards after a pass inside by Barnes easily caught by Bako, whilst Robson finishes with a hooked left-foot shot that just clears the Polish bar a couple of minutes from the end.
England’s first half display has left the visitors shell-shocked, and Poland were lucky to go into the break only a goal behind. Even after being outplayed and outfought in the opening period, they had had a couple of fine opportunities themselves, so the English knew they could take nothing for granted in the final 45. The visitors reappeared in a changed formation, and kept the English better in check, but they were rarely able to threaten the solid English backline. After conceding a second goal some 20 minutes from time, it was in practice game over. The hosts showed their superiority through scoring a third goal, and surely they were now well on their way to Italy, albeit two difficult away games still remained.
Less than two weeks after their 3-0 reverse, Wojciech Łazarek would be relieved of his duties as Polish international manager.
1 Shilton 6.7
never really tested, but remains focused and is such a professional character at 39. Makes sure to pep his defenders when Poland have their best spell in the earlier stages of the second half
2 Stevens 7.1
Mr Dependable, who is well in control of his side defensively, and who assists with a lovely cross for 2-0
3 Pearce 6.8
less prolific down the left hand side than before, but keeps K Warzycha under control
4 Webb 7.2
goes through a massive workload, and caps a fine display with an easy third goal. A more advanced role than previously, and makes a good few runs into the Polish box
5 Walker 7.4
makes a number of important interceptions, possibly saving two goals for the Polish. Uses his speed, though sees yellow for unnecessarily retaliating against Leśniak. No signs whatsoever of his alledged neck problems
6 Butcher 6.8
as always solid in the air, but has a fairly quiet afternoon compared to his central defensive colleague
7 Robson 7.1
always gives a tireless performance, and comes so close to scoring right at the death. Full of aggression throughout the first half, in which he makes a couple of impressive tackles
8 Waddle 7.6
completes a very good performance, and has a hand in the second goal. Is often the source of distraction to the Polish defence, and seeks to be creative throughout his time on the pitch, often finding his forward partners with deft passes
(15 Rocastle –
is his industrious self after coming on, and his cameo is rewarded when he pressurizes Wójcicki into an error that precedes 3-0. It is ‘Rocky’s’ ball in that assist’s Webb’s goal)
9 Beardsley 6.4
a disappointing afternoon personally for the Liverpool enigma, who can do little right on the night. A player of his undoubted talent should not be so wasteful in possession, although his pass through for Lineker early in the first half, which eventually will see Bako booked, is fine
(16 Smith –
slots in just behind Lineker, and does his bit in harrying the Polish defence and defending midfielder)
10 Lineker 7.9
definitely back to his very best. Impressive performance in stretching the Polish defence, giving his marker Łukasik a torrid time. So mobile, always on the run. Scores one, could have had at least one more, and played a big part in both 2-0 and 3-0
11 Barnes 7.3
despite living an anonymous role during the second half, he comes through with a goal and an assist. Not his fault that he’s only sparingly used in the final 45. Also causes trouble with his speed and close control in the opening half
1 Bako 6.7
not so much to blame for either goal, and did ok, but could have received better help from his defenders. Kicking let him down on occasions
2 Wijas 6.6
a surprise inclusion in central midfield until 1-0, then played the remainder as right back, where he lost track of Barnes for 2-0. Other than that did ok, as the English did not play a lot down his side
3 Wójcicki 6.8
made an error which lead to 3-0, but apart from that had a competent game. Was not so often engaged in direct battle with opponents, and made interceptions and swept well
4 Wdowczyk 6.6
usually a steady full-back, but had a lot of trouble with the lively Waddle
5 Łukasik 6.5
marking is hardly the main feature of his game, and with Lineker in such terrific form, the big central defender struggled. Got into a tangle with Bako for 1-0, very passive as Lineker stooped low to head into the path of Stevens who crossed for Barnes’ goal
6 Matysik 6.6
the deeper of the two in the centre during the first half, and came into an anchor role as part of a central midfield three in the second half. More at home in the latter role
7 Prusik 6.8
never gave up, showed good character, and impressed with his tireless running. So close to scoring with his late first half header that got cleared away by Walker
8 Urban 6.8
did a better job during his time more in field in the second half than he had done out wide left in the opening period, when he had not seen a lot of the ball. Had, however, headed possibly Poland’s best opportunity of the first half over. Also got into a good goalscoring position in the second half when his effort from inside the area was deflected wide off Walker
(14 Tarasiewicz –
tries to be a Polish spark after coming on, coming deep to collect the ball. However, little goes right in the forward department for the visitors on the night, and his influence towards the end of the game is minimal. Tries to repeat his stunning free-kick goal in Sweden as he lets fly from 28 yards, but sees his shot go well over the crossbar)
9 Furtok 6.8
did well and showed strength and mobility in the lone striker’s role after the break, and was clearly the more instrumental forward throughout. Showed a couple of nice touches, and almost got in between Stevens and Walker to score in the second half
10 K Warzycha 6.5
kept his flank for most of the game, and also contributed inside his own half, but hardly prolific going forward
11 Leśniak 6.5
a difficult afternoon. Has little impact up top during the first half, and though he plays a more active role in the opening exchanges of the second half, even provoking a yellow card for Walker, he’s withdrawn as Łazarek wishes to bring on more typical flank powers in Kosecki
(16 Kosecki 6.6
is full of running, but has little end product. Never stops trying, and though his original position is wide left, also comes across to the opposite side to try and create something alongside Warzycha)