Belgium 6-1 Poland: Red Devils turn on the style
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
The home side turned the tie around with a ruthless second-half striking display to register their first UEFA Nations League Group A4 points.
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Belgium responded to their opening UEFA Nations League defeat against the Netherlands with five second-half goals as they came back to beat Poland 6-1.
28' Lewandowski half-volley puts Poland ahead
42' Witsel levels as Belgium perseverance pays off
59' De Bruyne turns tie around
73' Low Trossard finish extends advantage
80' Brighton man gets second with curling effort
83' Dendoncker finishes from distance
90+3' Openda grabs first international goal
Match in brief: Dominant Belgium brush Poles aside
Belgium began brightly, Michy Batshuayi hitting the post then having a goal disallowed in the first five minutes. Poland's response was a patient one, their strikers going closer and closer until Robert Lewandowski took one touch to control then got their opener with a half-volley after 28 minutes.
The home team were level shortly before half-time as Timothy Castagne's smart stabbed pass was steered in by Axel Witsel to make it 1-1 at the break.
From there, Belgium went on to dominate and took a merited lead when Eden Hazard broke to set up Kevin De Bruyne as he curled in from just inside the box. Substitute Leandro Trossard then scored twice – his second a deep curling effort – before a long-range drive from Leander Dendoncker and Loïs Openda's first goal for his country rounded off an ultimately emphatic win.
Alyssa Saliou, match reporter
This time, Belgium started with much more hunger than against the Dutch and it was clear they wanted to redeem themselves. Despite showing more defensive weakness as they fell behind to Lewandowski's goal, they responded well and the likes of Castagne and De Bruyne were real threats as the hosts came back to secure a convincing victory. Goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski played well in trying circumstances for Poland; he conceded six but it could have been worse.
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach "It brings extra emotion when you lose against your rivals so that was definitely a motivator tonight. Against The Netherlands, we were passive, waiting, insecure. Here, we were a team instead of a bunch of individuals."
Yannick Carrasco, Belgium winger: "We've reviewed the Netherlands match. We learned from our mistakes and today we just really wanted to show our fans why they should not lose faith. We all knew what we had to do and I'm just happy we could give this to our fans. Now we want to do even better in the next two matches."
Czesław Michniewicz, Poland coach: “I told the players in the dressing room that this match would stay in our heads for a long time, but that they should use it as a reminder of how opponents play at the very highest levels in the world. We have to follow this example; we do not want to focus solely on what went wrong.”
Robert Lewandowski, Poland forward: "It was a match that will give us a lot to think about, a lot of question marks in various parts of our game plan and overall strategy, but also a lesson on how to play against such teams. Even the attacking players had to go back deep and help out in defence, which took a lot of effort. After that, it is difficult to have the strength to attack again."
- Belgium have now scored in 46 consecutive international matches, as well as in their last 14 UEFA Nations League fixtures.
- Poland conceded their highest number of goals in a game since losing 6-0 to Spain in a friendly in June 2010.
- The visitors, despite losing, have also scored in 20 games in a row thanks to Lewandowski's first-half effort.
Belgium: Mignolet; Dendoncker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Castagne (T Hazard 84), Tielemans, Witsel (Faes 84), Carrasco; De Bruyne (De Ketelaere 75), Batshuayi (Openda 84), E Hazard (Trossard 66).
Poland: Drągowski; Gumny, Glik, Bednarek, Puchacz (Bereszyński 46); Żurkowski, Krychowiak (Szymański 46); Kamiński, Zieliński (Zalewski 81), Szymański (Cash 66); Lewandowski (Buksa 69).
What happens after the UEFA Nations League group stage?
The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023 with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.
The teams finishing fourth in the groups in League A will be relegated to League B for the 2024/25 edition.