Football: Poland suffers defeat in Nations’ League opener

After a goal by Steven Bergwijn, Poland lost in Amsterdam against the Netherlands 0:1 on Friday. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

After a goal by Steven Bergwijn, Poland lost on Friday in Amsterdam against the Netherlands 0:1 in the Group 1 opening game of the UEFA Nations’ League top division.

Polish fans had to endure nearly ten months without international football; however, due to the ubiquitous restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this, as well as upcoming matches, will still be played behind closed doors.

Faced with the absence of the Polish captain Robert Lewandowski, who was released from national duties after immense club campaign, coach Jerzy Brzęczek decided to play with only one striker - Krzysztof Piątek. In the absence of the Bayern Munich striker, Kamil Glik was appointed team captain.

Although the Dutch players enjoyed more possession, there were very few clear chances in the first half. In the 21th minute Quincy Promes narrowly missed the target. Poland responded eleven minutes later, but Piątek sent the ball right in the middle of the goal where the goalkeeper Cillessen stood.

In the added time, the hosts had the best opportunity at that moment of the game, but Memphis Depay hit the post. The halftime score was 0:0 and, judging from their attitude, such a result would be considered satisfactory by the Polish team. On the other hand, the Netherlands lineup, full of top class players, did not allow the guests much.

The Dutchmen began the second half with high spirits, pushing the Poles into deep defence. Depay, arguably the best on the pitch, dribbled past Glik and stood face to face with Wojciech Szczęsny who cleared up the danger.

The hosts, who were the better side, took the lead in the 61st minute when Steven Bergwijn finished a decent buildup. Poland was unable to respond as the Netherlands kept up the momentum, creating a few chances. As the match was nearing the end, the hosts had it under complete control.

After a poor performance, Poland lost against the Netherlands 0:1 and manager Jerzy Brzęczek will have his work cut out for him in the coming days.

In the second match of the Group 1, Bosnia and Herzegovina drew 1:1 with Italy. On Monday, September 7, Poland will face the former side, also away from home.