England v Poland past meetings

13:32 16 October 2012


Poland's goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski makes a fine save - one of many during the crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley between England and Poland. The match finished 1-1, which meant Poland qualified not England. Photo credit: PA wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

England and Poland have a strong history of encounters having met in five previous World Cup qualifying campaigns, once at the World Cup finals and in two European Championship qualifying groups. Ahead of their latest meeting in qualification for Brazil 2014, London24 looks at five notable past games.


England’s World Cup hopes took a heavy knock as they slumped to a shock loss in their first competitive meeting with Poland. National hero Bobby Moore had a game to forget, failing to clear a free-kick as Robert Gadocha pounced for the opener before being caught in possession to gift Wlodzimierz Lubanski the second. Woes were compounded by the late sending off of Alan Ball, who took exception to a Leslaw Cmikiewicz challenge on Martin Peters and clashed with the Polish player.


After defeat in Chorzow, England needed to beat Poland to reach the 1974 World Cup finals. Many pundits thought that was a foregone conclusion and Brian Clough infamously branded long-haired visiting goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski a “clown”. That remark haunted England as the keeper defied a hand injury to produce a string of incredible - albeit sometimes fortuitous - saves. There were also clearances off the line by defenders in an English bombardment that amounted to 35 shots. Allan Clarke did manage a penalty equaliser after Jan Domarski’s strike but England were denied.


England found their next meeting with Poland rather more straightforward as they eased past them courtesy of a Gary Lineker hat-trick in the Mexico 86 group stages. After England were almost caught out twice early on, Lineker eased nerves by clipping in from six yards after nine minutes. Two more close-range finishes before half-time secured a place in the next round.


England were locked in a tight race with Italy for a spot at France 98 and faced a crucial test against now familiar foes Poland. They came through impressively after Alan Shearer opened the scoring with six minutes gone. It took until the last minute for Teddy Sheringham to double the lead but there was no doubting the superiority of Glenn Hoddle’s men.


Paul Scholes hit a hat-trick, the last by an England player at the old Wembley, as the hosts enjoyed a comfortable afternoon. The Manchester United player clipped the opener over the keeper from close range and then turned in a brilliant David Beckham cross. Poland captain Jerzy Brzeczek pulled one back but Scholes eased nerves with a powerful header.

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