CHORZOW, Poland. March 29 (AP) – Poland is heading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup — and of course Robert Lewandowski helped send his team there.
Final score: Poland – Sweden 2:0
The prolific Bayern Munich striker converted a penalty in the 50th minute to set Poland on its way to a 2:0 win over Sweden on Tuesday in one of the European playoff finals for a place in this year’s tournament in Qatar.
Piotr Zielinski added the second goal in Chorzow for the Poles, who will be competing in soccer’s biggest event for the second straight time.
It might be the last opportunity for the 33-year-old Lewandowski, who took his tally of goals for his country to a remarkable 75 in 129 appearances.
“It was really tough, this pressure,” Lewandowski said. “Even though I have taken many penalties in my career, this was one difficult.
“I knew so many people were watching me at this moment … I knew this moment would have so much significance. It was not easy to focus on the ball at that moment, but I managed to do it.”
Lewandowski showed composure from the penalty spot to place a finish into the bottom corner after a stuttering run-up, moments after Jesper Karlstrom was adjudged to have bundled into halftime-substitute Grzegorz Krychowiak. The Poland captain said he was playing through the pain barrier, having to deal with a knee injury.
“We have had many problems before this match — a lot of our players were injured, including me. I had a problem with my knee,” Lewandowski said.
“We suffered, but now we can celebrate. I am proud and happy.”
Zielinski’s goal came after a poor touch by Sweden center back Marcus Danielson, who failed to control a pass back to him. Zielinski ran through unchecked and curled a shot past goalkeeper Robin Olsen and just inside the post.
Sweden was left to rue missed chances either side of halftime by Emil Forsberg, who had close-range efforts saved by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
“I’m enormously disappointed,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. “This was a match we had within our reach. We created chances but didn’t score.
“Nothing went our way tonight. But you have to make sure that things go your way. You can’t blame other circumstances.”
Poland – Sweden 2:0 (0:0)
Goals: Lewandowski 49′ (Pk), Zieliński 72′
Yellow carded: Góralski, Moder, Lewandowski, Bielik – Isak, Kulusevski
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Attendance: 54 078
Poland: 1. Wojciech Szczęsny – 2. Matty Cash, 15. Kamil Glik, 5. Jan Bednarek, 18. Bartosz Bereszyński – 20. Piotr Zieliński (89, 7. Adam Buksa), 16. Krystian Bielik, 6. Jacek Góralski (46, 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak), 8. Jakub Moder, 17. Sebastian Szymański – 9. Robert Lewandowski
Sweden: 1. Robin Olsen – 2. Emil Krafth, 3. Victor Lindelöf, 4. Marcus Danielson (79, 11. Zlatan Ibrahimović), 6. Ludwig Augustinsson – 21. Dejan Kulusevski, 20. Kristoffer Olsson (80, 16. Jesper Karlsson), 13. Jesper Karlström (67, 19. Mattias Svanberg), 22. Robin Quaison (66, 17. Anthony Elanga), 10. Emil Forsberg – 9. Alexander Isak
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