Football: Poland concludes World Cup qualifiers with loss to Hungary

Poland lost to Hungary 1:2 in the final Group I match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers in Warsaw. Thus, the chances of being seeded in the European qualifiers play-offs have dropped dramatically, as the Poles will have to wait for the results of Tuesday matches.

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Compared to Friday's clash with Andorra, in which the Polish side secured their play-off spot, coach Paulo Sousa made nine changes in the starting lineup. Kamil Glik and Robert Lewandowski received a day off, while only Wojciech Szczęsny and Mateusz Klich retained their spots. For the first time, Matty Cash was placed in the starting lineup of the Polish team.

Hungary began with a defensive attitude and positioned well, sparsely allowing the Polish team to create good chances. In the 18th minute, the hosts could have scored their first one but the Hungarians managed to clear the danger after a commotion in their penalty box.

The visitors, in turn, rarely came close to the Polish goal, but it was them who scored an opener when Schaefer put it past Wojciech Szczęsny in the 38th minute. The result did not change in the first half, as Poland was unable to reply before the halftime whistle.

Poland still looked stunned at the beginning of the second half, as they could not break the consistent defence line of their rivals. The lack of chemistry between Krzysztof Piątek, Karol Świderski and midfielders was visible. Hungary started to play more confidently and was launching occasional counterattacks.

However, when it was not looking promising for the Poles, they made use of a set piece, which earlier brought Hungary the lead. After a corner kick, Świderski fired a header to equalise the game in the 62nd minute.

The goal inspired Poland to push the visitors into deeper defence, but they were limited to shots from distance nonetheless. Yet, the match took another turn, as Hungary created a deadly counterattack and, much to the poor positioning of the Poles, scored their second goal with 10 minutes to go. Daniel Gazdag was the scorer. From that moment, the hosts, knocked off their rhythm, could not pose much threat to well-organised Hungarians and lost 1:2 in poor fashion.

The defeat to Hungary significantly reduced chances of being seeded in the European qualifiers play-offs, which would give Poland the leverage of facing their first rival at home. The Poles will have to wait for the results of Tuesday matches, and then, for the play-off draw on Friday.

The competition for the three remaining World Cup spots from the European zone will take place in March 2022.

Poland - Hungary 1:2 (0:1)

Karol Świderski (62.) - Andras Schafer (38.), Daniel Gazdag (80.)