15th October 2012
Poland recovered well from the disappointing showing at the Euro 2012 and enjoyed a good start to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, but the White Eagles clearly face a difficult task against in-form England. The Three Lions continued the good run of results with a comfortable win over San Marino, with most of the key players rested with a view of recording a victory in Poland.
Poland had high hopes before the start of the Euro 2012, a tournament they hosted together with Ukraine, especially after being placed in the easiest group at tournament finals. However, the Poles failed to live up to the expectations and could only take two points from three group games. The poor showing in front of the home fans persuaded the national team chiefs that Franciszek Smuda was not the right man for the job, with Waldemar Fornalik brought to replace him. As a result, the White Eagles showed some improvement, playing out entertaining draw with Montenegro before recording a 2-0 win over Moldova, but not even their own fans are convinced the team can match in-form England at Warsaw. Poland were well below par in the friendly victory over South Africa on Friday and with Wojciech Dzczesny and Jakub Blaszczyowski missing through injury, the hosts could find it hard to get anything from this game. Lukasz Piszczek and Eugen Polanski are both doubtful, which only adds to the worries.
It’s been a while since England fans had so much faith in the national team, with the fact that more than 85,000 people came to watch the Three Lions play minnows San Marino proving things are slowly changing in the national team. Roy Hodgson’s side were clearly able to build on the good performance at the Euro 2012, beating Italy in August friendly before trashing Molodva away from home, and they still appear to be riding that wave. The 1-1 draw with Ukraine was their first under-par result after quite a while, but given the quality of their opponents, the Three Lions ultimately did well to come from a goal behind and earn one point. The game against San Marino served as a great opportunity to rest some regular starters and at the same time give playing time to the likes of Rooney, Carrick and Welbeck, who are expected to profit from another impressive showing at international level. Steven Gerrard has served his suspension and returns to the starting line-up, just like Joleon Lescott, Jermain Defoe, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson, who were rested on Friday. Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott and Ryan Bertrand are unavailable.
Poland appear to be struggling for form at the moment and the absence of Szczesny and Blaszczykowski is likely to prove a major blow. England, on the other hand, are playing with a lot of confidence, and they look more than capable of recording a very important win in Warsaw.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 1/1
Bookmaker: Stan James