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Poland 2-0 Sweden: Second-half show takes Poland through

Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zieliński took Poland to the FIFA World Cup finals at Sweden's expense.

WC 2022 - Highlight - Medium
Highlights: Poland 2-0 Sweden

Poland qualified for a second successive FIFA World Cup after brushing aside Sweden in their play-off final in Chorzow.

Key moments

49' Karlström fouls Krychowiak in area
51'
Lewandowski beats Olsen from spot
57' Szczęsny denies Forsberg
72' Zieliński slots in clinching second

Match in brief: Poland progress with second-half strikes

There were few chances in a cagey first half, although Sweden's Emil Forsberg was denied by Wojciech Szczęsny and Matty Cash shot wide at the other end.

Grzegorz Krychowiak was introduced at the interval and made an instant impact as he was fouled in the area by Jesper Karlström, and Robert Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot.

Robert Lewandowski puts Poland ahead from the penalty spot
Robert Lewandowski puts Poland ahead from the penalty spotGetty Images

Sweden pushed for an equaliser and Szczęsny denied Forsberg again before Piotr Zieliński took advantage of a mistake at 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 headers.

Piotr Koźmiński, Poland 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 yet again he is a great striker and captain and Zieliński finally lived up to fans' expectations. Just two games into his Poland tenure and Czesław Michniewicz already has the biggest moment of his coaching career as Poland come up trumps in the Silesian Stadium once again.

Sujay Dutt, Sweden reporter

For much of the match, Sweden were the side looking to score, but Poland goalkeeper Szczęsny kept his side on terms with saves in either half. Then a mistimed Karlström challenge gave Poland the penalty that Lewandowski put away before a lapse in defence 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.

Reaction

Lewandowski: 'I knew how important penalty was'
Lewandowski: 'I knew how important penalty was'

Robert Lewandowski, Poland striker, speaking to UEFA.com: "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."

Czesław Michniewicz, Poland coach, speaking to UEFA.com: "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."

Janne Andersson, Sweden coach, speaking to TV4: "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.”

Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden forward, speaking to TV4: "Everyone is disappointed. That’s normal when losing. Everyone wants to play in the World Cup, but unfortunately that won’t happen."

Key stats

  • Lewandowski's penalty was the first goal Poland had scored at home to Sweden, having lost all three previous meetings without scoring.
  • A 75th international goal moved the Poland captain joint third on the all-time UEFA international scorers list, level with Sándor Kocsis and behind only Ferenc Puskás (84) and Cristiano Ronaldo (115).

Europe's World Cup qualifiers

Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland.

The World Cup draw takes place on Friday 1 April in Doha, starting at 19:00 local time (mainland Europe is an hour behind, UK and Portugal two hours).

Line-ups

Poland: Szczęsny; Bielik, Glik, Bednarek; Cash, Góralski (Krychowiak 46), Moder, Bereszyński; Zieliński (Buksa 89), Szymański; Lewandowski.

Sweden: Olsen; Krafth, Lindelöf, Danielson (Ibrahimović 80), Augustinsson; Kulusevski, Karlström (Svanberg 67), K Olsson (Karlsson), Forsberg; Isak, Quaison (Elanga 67).