Poland v England
Poland v England: 2014 World Cup Qualifier
England duly delivered against San Marino on Friday and now face an injury hit Poland in a crucial Group H qualifier.
There are three money back specials doing the rounds ahead of the game: which one do you rate the most?
Poland looked to be suffering from the burden of being a home nation at EURO 2012, playing well in fits and bursts before being overrun by more organised opposition. The last competitive win for Poland against England came in 1973, a game which will be known by England fans as one of only three games where the national side sported a yellow strip, courtesy of a 2-0 win (and some dire defending from Bobby Moore).
Poland are struggling with injuries though; captain and Borussia Dortmund star Jakub Blaszczykowski has been ruled out, along with Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny. Another of the Dortmund ‘three’, Lukasz Piszczek, remains a doubt, but forward Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the Poles on Tuesday night.
The striker was heavily fancied going into EURO 2012 and despite not living up to his Bundesliga form talk of a transfer away, Manchester United were heavily linked, has persisted past the summer. He was the main man at Dortmund as they wrapped up a domestic double last season, scoring 30 goals in 46 appearances.
€17.5 million hit-man and 2011-2012 Bundesliga Player of the Year, Marco Reus, looks to have taken the edge of the Polish striker and he has only scored three times this season, spurning a guilt-edged chance to finish of Man City in the Champions League. By contrast, Reus has been in superb form, notching six for Dortmund and three in as many games for Germany this qualifying campaign. Lewandowski will be looking to re-establish himself as the main man for the Bundesliga champions and will be desperate to beat Joe Hart.
He is Poland’s biggest goal-threat; 11/5 to score at anytime looks a sound investment.
England have injury concerns of their own; Theo Walcott was clattered by San Marino goalkeeper Simoncini and is ruled out, as are Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand (presumably as he sets up a new Twitter account). Tom Cleverley looked assured on Friday, but may lose out with Steven Gerrard available after suspension and Kyle Walker is likely to get pulled for Glen Johnson, despite some inconsistent club form.
James Milner, Joleon Lescott and Ashley Cole should come back into the fold on Tuesday for the game takes on even more importance following the goalless draw between Moldova and Ukraine last week. After another excellent improvised finish Danny Welbeck looks likely to retain his starting position in Hodgson’s revised 4-2-3-1 formation with Rooney in the number 10 position.
Lewandowski aside, Poland look blunt in attack, and their defence was easily exposed at EURO 2012. England should narrowly win in Warsaw; back them to do so by one goal at 11/4.
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