BYDGOSZCZ, Poland. Nov 18 — Midfielder Maciej Rybus scored in the first half as Poland defeated Canada 1-0 Wednesday in an international FIFA friendly.
The loss was the second for the Canadian men on their two-game European tour.
“It is a very different challenge playing in Europe than in Canada,” interim coach Stephen Hart said in a release. “The game here is much quicker and the playing conditions are different. We knew coming into this game that Poland was very strong at home.”
“Today, we learned a lot about what is necessary for us to play at the international level.”
The match, played in a 20,500-seat stadium in Bydgoszcz, was the first meeting between Canada and Poland in over 20 years. Poland improved its record to 4-0 against Canada and has outscored the Canadians 8-2. The last time the two teams played, Canada lost 2-1 on July 15, 1988.
The play was fairly even throughout the first half. One of Canada’s best scoring chances came in the 27th minute when midfielder Jaime Peters created space down the right side and curled a nice cross in on goal. Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak made the save.
Poland had a chance for a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute when Dariusz Dudka blasted a shot. Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld tipped the ball over the crossbar.
The game was special for Canada’s Tomasz Radzinski. The veteran forward was born in Poznan, a city close to Bydgoszcz, and moved to Canada as a teenager. Since making his national team debut June 4, 1985, against Turkey, Radzinski has played 46 games for Canada and scored 10 goals. He currently plays for the Belgium team K. Lierse S.K.
Radzinski received applause when he was replaced by a substitution in the 85th minute.
Defender Paul Stalteri played in his 79th international game and moved past Mark Watson into second place on the all-time Canadian list.
Both teams were coming off losses their last matches. Canada lost 3-0 to FYR Macedonia on Nov. 9 while Poland fell 1-0 to Romania Nov. 14.
Canada is currently ranked 53rd in the world by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, while Poland is 56th.
The game was the final match of the 2009 season for Canada. The men finished the year with a record of seven wins, three losses and a draw.
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