On 06/09/2021 at 10:14 AM CEST
Poland, Spain’s rival in the group stage of the European Football Championship, showed, with a draw (2-2) against Iceland in their last friendly before the start of the tournament, quite a few defensive deficiencies and in the creation of the game that were masked with a goal from Karol Swiderski in the 88th minute that saved the result.
Szczesny; Kedziora, Glik, Dawidowicz, Puchacz (Rybus, 80 ‘); Frankowski (Placheta, 64 ‘), Moder, Krychowiak (Linetty, 64’), Zielinski (Kozlowski, 46 ‘); Lewandowski (Swiderski, 81 ‘) and Swierczok (Jozwiak, 58’).
Runarsson (Kristinsson, 46 ‘); Sampsted, Hermannsson, Bjarnason, Thórarinsson; Gunnarsson; Anderson (Eyjólfsson, 74 ‘), Baldursson (Thórdarson, 78’), Bjarnason, Gudmundsson; Bödvarsson.
0-1 M. 26 Gudmundsson. 1-1 M. 34 Zielinski. 2-1 M. 47 Bjarnason. 2-2 M. 88 Swiderski.
Balázs Berke (Hungary). TA: Krychowiak (46 ‘) / Baldursson (43’).
The team led by Paulo Sousa faced the duel without one of its key players, Arkadiusz Milik, who 24 hours earlier announced that he would not contest the Eurocup due to a problem in the meniscus in his right knee. It was the second major loss for Poland, which also lost Krzysztof Piatek through injury in mid-May. Without two of their top three attackers, they all looked to one name to go with Robert Lewandowski: Jakub Swierczok.
Sousa gave him the title for the second consecutive friendly. Against Russia he scored the only goal for his team (1-1) and it was one of the few good news from a team that until now has been gray. For that, and for the certain absence of Milik, he returned to eleven.
He did it together with the five most striking players left in Poland after the fall of two of them before the European Championship: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Piotr Zielinski (Naples), Grezegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moscow) and Lewandowski (Bayern). In front, everyone had Iceland, which did not have the European Championship on the horizon. A priori, it was a good duel to mark the state of Poland.
However, Sousa’s men did not work. He showed many defensive weaknesses, especially from set pieces, and excessive doubts in attack without ideas in the creation with a considerable jam despite monopolizing possession.
And, with that bad script, Iceland took the lead in the second leg of the first half with a heel strike from Albert Gudmundsson, to which Zielinski responded shortly after thanks to an appearance by Lewandowski, who participated in the beginning of the goal with a ‘Maradonian’ play, after leaving three rivals.
With 1-1 on the scoreboard at half-time, Iceland hit the pitch hard in the second half and Poland almost without a break scored the second through Brynjar Bjarnason, who took advantage of a defensive imbalance after a set piece shot.
Poland, except for an appearance by Lewandowski, who had to go down to collect balls in midfield, and small pills from Tymoteusz Puchacz on the left, barely showed anything positive.
Sousa then tried to revitalize his attack with the departure of Jozwiak, an expert in revolutionizing matches, in place of the shutdown Swierczok. It worked. Swiderski, who took the field for Lewandowski, saved honor at last gasp. Although they tied in the 88th minute, Poland showed too many shortcomings before the start of the Euro.