Kevin Keegan's reign as England coach got off to a fabulous start at Wembley. Despite having four players who all would probably have featured in the game, withdrawing two days before the match due to injury, the team Keegan fielded beat a Polish side convincingly. Paul Scholes was the hero of the afternoon with his hat-trick. Although it's early days to judge Keegan at the moment, he seems to have won over the majority of people.
England looked good from the start of the game despite threatening play by the Poles. The home side had a few promising attacks before Scholes scored the opening goal after 11 minutes. The play leading up to the goal was a combination of Cole and Shearer, the latter of who made the final touch so Scholes only had to chip the ball over Matusek to give his team the lead.
Five minutes later Sherwood, on his debut, had the opportunity to make the perfect start to his international career but his volley went over the crossbar. In the meantime Poland were trying to level the score but to no avail. Scholes got his second goal of the game with 21 minutes on the clock. His clubmates were involved in the build-up with Cole picking out Beckham, who played a great cross to Scholes who had arrived in front of the goal. England were winning 2-0 even though Poland and TV evidence pointed that Scholes had touched the ball with his arm.
In the minutes after the second goal Poland pressed to pull a goal back when Trzeciak was clear by the edge of England's goal area, but his shot went wide. Brzeczek's effort though made no
mistake as it hit its target. Trzeciak made a run down the left side and crossed the ball to an unmarked Brzeczek who slotted the ball past Seaman. Poland were now back in the game and they continued to attack England's defence in the remainder of the first half. England, however, were the closest of the two teams to almost score again through McManaman, Shearer and Campbell. The half-time score stood at 2-1.
Poland made a subsituation at the start of the second half, Klos came on for Swierczewski. The England team retained the same line-up.
The visitors had the first real attack of the second period when they won a corner but Seaman calmly claimed the ball. England then turned on the pressure as they launched attack after attack, coming close a number of time to getting a third goal. The hat-trick came for Scholes in the 70th minute. Gary Neville took a long throw which Shearer received to play on to Scholes, who headed the ball into the net. A jubilant England were two goals clear. Prior to the goal both countries made a change to their sides, Kowalczyk came on for Siadaczki and Parlour replaced McManaman, making the Arsenal player the second England player to make his debut in this game.
Poland were not ruled out of this match despite the score and almost brought the deficit to within a goal again as Kowalczky capitalised on a mistake by Le Saux, but the ball went across to goal and to safety. Trzeciak tried his luck too but his left-foot short went wide of the goal. In the meantime Phil Neville had taken the place of Beckham. Then in the 83rd minute Scholes made way for Jamie Redknapp but not before he almost had a fourth goal. His shot from 25-yards went wide. Poland also made a change bringing on Juskowial for Trzeciak.
With the game in the final minute Tim Sherwood almost sealed his debut with a goal but his header went over the crossbar. It was irrelevant in the end as England were the 3-1 victors and had obtained the three points they desperately needed.
Seaman, G Neville, Le Saux, Sherwood, Keown, Campbell, Beckham (P Neville 78 mins), Scholes (Redknapp 82 mins), Shearer - Captain, Cole, McManaman
(Parlour 69 mins).
Subs Not Used: Southgate, Ferdinand, Armstrong, Martyn. (Full Squad)
Matusek, Bak, Lapinski, Ratajczyk, Zielinski, Hajto, Swierczewski (Klos 46 mins), Iwan, Siadqczka (Kowalczyk 64 mins), Brzeczek, Trzeciak (Justowiak 82 mins).
Subs Not Used: Czerwiec, Waldoch, Michalski, Sidorczuk
England Scorers: Scholes (11, 21, 70 mins)
Poland Scorer: Brzeczek (29 mins)
England Cautions: Scholes, Sherwood
Poland Cautions: Ratajczyk, Hajto
Referee: V Melo-Pereiro (Portugal)