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Poland 1-1 England: Damian Szymanski hits back for hosts after Harry Kane stunner in World Cup quali
09/09/2021 10:37:48

England's perfect start to World Cup qualifying ended in dramatic fashion, with a last-gasp equaliser grabbing Poland a 1-1 draw in Warsaw against Gareth Southgate's side.


The visitors had been on course to make it six wins from six in Group I thanks to Harry Kane's stunning long-range strike (72) but two minutes into stoppage time Robert Lewandowski crossed for Damian Szymanski to head in at the back post.


England had struggled to carve out clear chances in the first half against a physical and fired-up Polish side but were much improved after the break, with Harry Maguire heading against a post before Kane unleashed a fine swerving effort from 30 yards.


It was the 15th consecutive major tournament qualifier Kane had scored in and took his overall tally to 41 strikes in 64 appearances, moving him into outright fifth on England's list of all-time top scorers. But it wasn't enough to deny a Poland side roared on by their passionate fans inside the National Stadium.


With four games to go, England remain top of their pool, four points clear of second-placed Albania and favourites to qualify for the Qatar World Cup in first place, though, with Andorra and Hungary next up in October.



England player ratings


England: Pickford (6), Shaw (6), Maguire (6), Stones (7), Walker (5), Phillips (7), Rice (8), Mount (6), Grealish (5), Sterling (8), Kane (7).


Subs: N/A.


Man of the match: Raheem Sterling


How Poland shocked England with late equaliser...


Poland had secured five draws from their previous seven meetings with England at home and a packed National Stadium in the capital provided an intense atmosphere from the first whistle, which sparked a frantic start to the match, with Tymoteusz Puchacz drilling a volley against Kyle Walker.



With Kalvin Phillips harshly booked and several decisions going against England early on, Southgate's side were looking frustrated, but after riding the early storm, Mason Mount shot over and Kane miscued a header.


However, with Lewandowski in their side, Poland were always a threat and Jordan Pickford had to be sharp just before the half-hour to prevent the Bayern Munich striker lobbing the ball over him in the box.


After a physical opening 45 minutes, tempers boiled over on the stroke of half-time, with Maguire and Kamil Glik booked for an altercation as players from both sides clashed.


England let their football do the talking after the break, though, with Jack Grealish fizzing the ball across the face of goal, Raheem Sterling dribbling dangerously in the box, a Luke Shaw cross just evading Kane and Phillips firing straight at Wojciech Szczesny within the first 10 minutes of the second period.


The visitors were inches away from the breakthrough on the hour, when Maguire directed a header from a set-piece against the far post before Sterling was flagged offside but Kane found the net in spectacular fashion soon after.


Lewandowski had scuffed a tame effort from outside the box at Pickford at the other end moments earlier but Kane showed his prowess and ball-striking brilliance by drifting the ball away from the reach of Szczesny.


There was a hairy moment for Pickford with 10 minutes to play when his clearance cannoned into Karol Swiderski and flew back towards his own goal but the goalkeeper was able to recover to spare his blushes.


But there was nothing he could do when Szymanski out-jumped Shaw and powered home his decisive header deep into injury time to grab a point for the hosts.


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