Football: Poland secures World Cup qualifiers’ playoff spot after defeating Andorra

Poland won 4:1 against Andorra in an away game of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers and, also owing to the loss of Albania in the simultaneously played match, secured their spot in the playoff stage which will take place in March.

The match started with a... blow. Andorran forward Cucu Fernandez elbowed Poland’s Kamil Glik in the face. The hosts’ player was sent off in the 15th second of the game (the 5th fastest red card in an official match in history) and the visitors received a huge handicap.

Poland very quickly made the most of the one-man advantage in the field. Kamil Jóźwiak set up Robert Lewandowski who put the ball into the net in the 5th minute. It was only six minutes later when Kamil Jóźwiak converted a decent pass from Przemysław Frankowski into another goal, doubling the lead.

Nevertheless, Andorra’s aggressive style of play caused problems for the Polish team, disturbing its rhythm. The underdogs tried to extort fouls whenever there was contact between them and the Poles, also making use of the experimental lineup of the visitors’ defence. After one of the sparse set pieces near the Polish penalty box, Andorran’s Vales took advantage of the bad marking and found the way into the net. However, the favourites of the match reacted in the best possible way, as only two minutes later, Arkadiusz Milik notched Poland’s third goal and the halftime score was 1:3.

Having a two-goal lead, Poland controlled the match just like it did at 0:2. In the 57th minute, Milik could have added another one to his tally, but he was offside.

Matty Cash, an English-born defender, made his long-awaited debut in the national team, coming onto the pitch in the 63th minute of the match.

After a period of idleness, the Polish team scored their fourth goal of the night, when Piotr Zieliński found Robert Lewandowski, whose header made it 1:4.

Not much happened later on, as the visitors were in the ball possession and tried new schemes in the attack, which brought no more goals. Poland won 4:1 and secured their World Cup qualifiers’ playoff spot, also owing to the huge 0:5 loss of Albania against England in the simultaneously played match.

The team will conclude the group stage against Hungary on November 15. A victory in that match, held at PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, may be decisive in terms of being a seeded team, which will be the host of the semi-final playoff.

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