Published on:

Sweden faced off against Poland, with both teams vying for a crucial win. The Swedes can clinch top spot with a win while a Polish victory will see them qualify for the knockouts.

Jan Andersson’s side got off to the perfect start within two minutes. The Polish defence failed to clear a ball near the edge of their penalty box, with the ball breaking kindly to Emil Forsberg. The RB Leipzig man made no mistake, slotting the ball across Szczesny with his left foot for his second goal at Euro 2020.



Sweden kept the pressure up in the opening exchanges, with Poland struggling to assert themselves on the ball. Their best chance in the opening 20 minutes came from a corner that Lewandowski should have scored. The ball in found the captain whose header bounced off the turf onto the crossbar before he inexplicably headed the rebound also against the crossbar from two yards out.



Both teams were going back-and-forth on the pitch, with the clearest chance for an equalizer before the break coming from Zielinski’s shot. The powerful drive was parried over by Olsen in goal as Sweden headed in at halftime holding a slim lead.

Paulo Sousa’s side started the second half on the front foot, with Zielinski testing Olsen within three minutes. Sweden weathered that storm before hitting back, as Isak drew a fine save from the Polish custodian. It was again Poland’s turn to attack with Krychowiak forcing Olsen into more action.



It was setting up for an end-to-end finish as both teams knew the next goal will be crucial. It came just before the hour mark with substitute Kulusevksi heavily involved. The Juventus man carried the ball from the centre circle to the edge of the penalty box before laying it off for Forsberg who made no mistake. If Sweden thought it was game over, they were wrong.



Lewandowski was slipped in by Zielinski and made his way into the box. With Lindelof marking closely, the striker curled an audacious shot beyond the diving Olsen to reignite Polish hope. They thought they had their second goal when Swierczok touched a cross in but it was ruled out for offside.



The urgency amongst the Polish contingent was palpable as they were much more adventurous now. However, the Swedish back-line remained resolute in thwarting whatever came their way. That did not last for long, as with just six minutes remaining, Frankowki’s ball fell to Lewandowski unmarked in front of Olsen. The result? Another goal.



With Poland throwing the kitchen sink at Sweden for the remainder of the game, they were left suspect to the counter attack. A third goal did come but it was for Sweden, with Claesson scoring in the fourth minute of injury time to seal their qualification as group winners.


Here are the three key takeaways:



Group E was one of the harder ones to call, given Spain are no longer the force they once were. That worked to Sweden’s advantage as they came away with seven points. Anderson’s team are not the most spectacular at what they do but they get the job done. That was proved once again today, with their opening goal involving all of the top players. Isak, Quaison, and Forsberg were at the heart of the pressure that led to Poland failing to defend their goal.



The Swedish defence remained resolute for the rest of the half and looked well set for the win. Those hopes got stronger with Forsberg getting his second goal in the match within the hour mark. Despite Lewandowski scoring twice to level things up, Claesson’s late, late goal ensured that they would end the day as they started with no defeats at the group stage.



Heading into the tournament, all eyes were on Lewandowski and whether he can bring his club form to the national team. He was the one true superstar in the lineup, but the captain just had too much to do alone in the end. He netted against Spain to earn them a draw, and today also he should have had the leveller in the first half. After heading a corner onto the crossbar, he passed up a glorious chance to score when it looked easier to score.



Poland were hardly threatening after that during the remainder of the half, with a big second half coming up. They went down 2-0 within 15 minutes before Lewandowski’s screamer brought them back within one. Though in the ascendancy since then, a second goal eventually arrived with Lewandowski side footing a goal home from just in front of goal to make it a game. Pushing for a winner, they were undone on the counter as Claesson scored a third to seal Poland’s fate.



The Juventus attacker came on the second half for his first tournament appearance and what an introduction it was. He had two assists, a passing accuracy of 90% and looked supremely confident of himself while going forward. His mazy runs and ability to play a deft pass will be a real asset now that Sweden have qualified. Kulusevski will join forces with Isak and Forsberg which will a scary proposition for any team in the knockouts.


Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

also read