MX23RW : Sunday, July 25 18:20:08| >> :600:285167:285167:
Mar 31, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Wembley Stadium
EnglandEngland
2-1
PolandPoland
Kane (19' pen.), Maguire (85')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Moder (58')
Milik (46')

Preview: England vs. Poland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's World Cup Qualifying clash between England and Poland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

England face their toughest assignment yet in World Cup Qualifying Group I when they welcome Poland to Wembley Stadium on matchday three this Wednesday.

Both teams eased to comfortable victories at the weekend, with the Three Lions cruising past Albania 2-0 while Poland eased to a 3-0 win over Andorra.


Match preview

England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Albania on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Back in the team and back among the goals, Harry Kane made the net ripple and provided an assist - as he has done so often for Tottenham Hotspur this season - to propel England to a resounding 2-0 win on Albanian turf at the weekend.

The skipper headed home from Luke Shaw's cross in the 38th minute before turning provider for the equally impressive Mason Mount in the second 45, as the Chelsea man doubled England's advantage just after the hour mark to maintain the Three Lions' perfect start to proceedings in Group I.

Keeping the momentum going from their routine 5-0 drubbing of San Marino, Gareth Southgate's men are the only team in their group to take six points from a possible six so far, and they have also notched up 11 goals and conceded a grand total of zero in their last three games across all competitions.

Of course, that defensive resolve will be tested to the limit against Poland - even in the absence of the injured Robert Lewandowski - but England have come up trumps in 12 of their last 13 fixtures on home soil, scoring 44 goals and shipping just six in that impressive run.

A third straight success in the group would do wonders for their chances of securing top spot ahead of their closest challengers Poland, although Hungary could prove to be dark horses in the race for qualification as well, so it will be interesting to see if Southgate reverts to a back three or keeps faith in his effective 4-3-3 system for Wednesday's tantalising battle.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Unsurprisingly, Lewandowski's three strikes from two matches sees him sit level with nine other players at the top of the goalscoring charts, as the 32-year-old's well-taken brace helped Poland on their way to a comfortable win over Andorra and their first three points in Group I.

The captain struck either side of the half-time whistle before being forced off with a knee problem, and his replacement Karol Swiderski put the icing on the cake in the 88th minute as Poland scored three goals for the second time in a row, having drawn 3-3 with Hungary on the opening matchday.

However, Paulo Sousa's prolific skipper has now been ruled out of this encounter after Poland managed to halt a three-game winless run with Sunday's victory - one which sees them occupy second spot in the group ahead of Hungary courtesy of their head-to-head away goals tally - and the visitors will sit atop the rankings for a few months if their endeavours at Wembley are successful.

In recent years, however, other nations have tried and failed 29 times to get the better of England at Wembley in World Cup or European qualifiers, and Poland's record against the Three Lions is not exactly a cause for optimism.

Indeed, the visitors have only triumphed once in their 19 attempts against England - with that 2-0 win coming all the way back in 1973 - and the Three Lions have won seven in a row on home soil against Poland, most recently a 2-0 success in October 2013.

England World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W
  • W

England form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Poland World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • W

Poland form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W


Team News

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their second goal on January 24, 2021© Reuters

England right-back Kyle Walker shook off an injury in time to start against Albania, but Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford have been ruled out of this game, while Nick Pope is confirmed to be starting in goal.

With Lewandowski confirmed to be missing out, Southgate may not feel the need to switch from his newly successful 4-3-3 setup, with the bulk of the XI who started against Albania also featuring here.

Luke Shaw displayed his qualities against Albania and should keep Ben Chilwell out of the team here, but James Ward-Prowse and Jesse Lingard are fighting for recalls, especially with Mason Mount now doubtful through injury.

There was initial optimism over Lewandowski's knee injury, but in a huge blow to the visitors' chances of success, the striker has indeed damaged ligaments and will not be lining up at Wembley.

Arkadiusz Milik and Krzysztof Piatek will therefore form a strike partnership as the skipper is forced to watch on from the sidelines, while Wojciech Szczesny is set for a taxing return to English soil as he attempts to prevent Kane from finding the back of the net.

Kamil Piatkowski impressed on his debut for Poland, but he has since tested positive for coronavirus and will make way for Jan Bednarek here, while Brighton & Hove Albion's Jakub Moder is also in contention to return to the first XI.

Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has also contracted COVID-19 and will likely be replaced in the XI by Rafal Augustyniak.

England possible starting lineup:
Pope; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Sterling, Kane, Foden

Poland possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Rybus; Augustyniak, Moder, Jozwiak; Zielinski; Milik, Piatek


SM words green background

We say: England 2-1 Poland

Lewandowski's absence is a crushing blow for Poland, but his adversary Kane is firing on all cylinders and ready to inspire England to yet another win on home soil. The Three Lions cannot expect to cruise to victory at Wembley like they did against San Marino, and a change in formation from Southgate could have a big impact on the hosts' attacking prowess, but we are confident in England's ability to get the job done and maintain their perfect start to qualification.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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