Poland 1-1 Russia
Poland and Russia played out a 1-1 draw on a rainy Tuesday night at the Mieski Stadium, in a useful warm up for both sides ahead of the European Championships.
With Euro 2020 just around the corner, starting on 11th June, this International Friendly: Poland vs Russia, was an opportunity for the coaching teams to check out fringe players and leave some key men on the sidelines, and in a lively start to the game Jakub Swierczok put the hosts ahead with his first international goal, before Vyacheslav Karavaev levelled for the visitors.
The match quietened down in the second half as both coaches made multiple substitutions and the draw, at odds of 3.15 here at SBOTOP, was just about right. It was a decent run out for both teams and crucially with no injuries.
Highlights of the game
Poland talisman Robert Lewandowski was missing during Poland’s recent defeat to England and Paulo Sousa understandably left the Bayern man on the bench tonight as Poland started with Jakub Swierczok up front, and the Piast Gliwice striker was on the score sheet in the first real attack of the game. Mateusz Klich chipped a ball into the danger area and Przemyslaw Frankowski slid a beautiful pass to Swierczok on the right side of the Russia penalty area, and he picked his spot with a sweet shot into the bottom right corner to give the Poles a fourth minute lead.
Russia were level on 20 minutes and it was a simple goal, well executed, as Alexsandr Golovin swung a long ball into the box and Vyacheslav Karavaev slotted home from six yards, though Lukasz Fabianski will be disappointed when he watches the Poland vs Russia highlights as the keeper should have come for the ball and was then beaten by a shot through his legs.
Klich tried to restore the hosts’ lead with an effort from just outside the penalty area but he was inches too high. And then Swierczok was agonisingly close when his long range effort crashed against the cross bar. At the other end of the pitch the Polish defence stood firm to block an effort from Fedor Kudryashov and then another from Golovin.
In the last attack of the first half Artem Dzyuba took aim and fired one just wide as the teams went in level. And the big man was in the thick of the action again, at the start of the second half, bullying the Poland defence to work an opening for Golovin, but he blazed over.
Poland had a chance with a free-kick just outside the penalty area but Tymoteusz Puchacz hit his left foot effort just too high. Chances were few and far between as the game progressed, and seventy minutes had passed before Poland had another attempt, this time Jakub Moder shooting high and wide.
There were fans in the stadium, a welcome sight, but some left before the end to beat the traffic, something we haven’t seen for a while!
The Poland vs Russia betting odds hinted at a close fought game and so it was in the first half, as Russia dominate possession, with almost 60 per cent of the ball, and the sides had four shots each, Poland with two on target to Russia’s one. In a pedestrian second half, Poland saw more of the ball and ended up with 50 per cent of possession and won the shot count by six to five and two to one on target.
There were few chances after the opening 20 minutes but enough commitment in a friendly with 25 fouls committed!
The visitors arrived in Poland without a clean sheet in six games and it took just four minutes for Poland to breach their defence.
A draw for the hosts means that Poland have won just once in the last six games, but lost only once, to England, in the four games that Sousa has been in charge.
In a week’s time Poland have a final warm up game when Iceland are the visitors to Poznan; and then they start their Euro 2020 campaign with a match against Slovakia, before facing Spain and then Sweden. Russia faced Slovakia recently in a World Cup qualifier and lost 2-1, so Poland won’t underestimate their opening opponents. Before starting their own Euro campaign, Russia returns to Moscow where they have a friendly meeting with Bulgaria on Saturday. Then the serious business starts when they face FIFA’s highest ranked team, Belgium, in their tournament opener, before taking on Finland and then Denmark.