World Cup 2010
Match Reports

Poland 0 England 2
1998 World Cup Qualifying Game - Group 2
Chorzow, Poland - Saturday 31 May 1997


Prior to this game England had not won in Poland since 1966. The current team were wanting to put an end to this, and not because of supersition. They had a much better reason in wanting to win the game, as defeating Poland would mean that Group 2 qualification for France next year would become a two horse race between England and Italy. The showdown between these sides is 11 October, although the country finishing in second place would not be ruled out of the '98 World Cup. Qualification could come to that country courtesy of finishing as the best runner-up in EUFA's groupings, or via the playoffs.

In the opening couple of minutes on a cold and dreary night in Poland, the home team made a weak attack which Seaman collected easily, but then the Poles troubled the England goalkeeper who came off his line to dive on the ball from a Polish player, but Seaman couldn't keep hold of the ball. Thankfully the English defence were able to clear the ball away over the side line before any serious damage could be done.

After Poland's initial forward movements, England made sure they wouldn't conceed an early goal as they did when Poland visited Wembley last year. In the sixth minute Robert Lee found Ince in space in his own half, and Ince hurtled down the field spotting Shearer breaking down the right. Ince made the perfect cross to the Newcastle forward who hit the ball into the far side of the net, beating Worziak who had tried to close down Shearer. A great start for England and a super goal.

Injury struck Gascoigne, again, ten minutes later when he was involved in a challenge with Bukalski. It left Gascoigne with a gash on his right thigh and was stretchered off. England were down to ten men while Gascoigne received treatment, but he was back playing again moments later. Unfortunately the pain was too much for Gascoigne to carry on and so Hoddle replaced him with Batty. It is hoped that this latest injury won't keep him out of action.

Paul Ince will miss the home game against Moldova in September after he was yellow carded for playing into Norwak. It was his second caution in the qualifying games.

With attacks building up at both ends of the field, it was England who look like increasing their lead, especially when the Poles were conceeding free-kicks in dangerous areas. Batty almost scored from one of those set plays, but Wozniak made the save. However, Poland had chances to equalise but Dembinski didn't really test Seaman when he had the opportunity, after a mistake by Gary Neville. And when Bukalski drove his shot it seemed to have beaten the English defence but Southgate was there to clear the ball.

Three minutes into injury time in the first half, England were awarded a penalty when Shearer was brought down by Ledwon. Shearer missed, hitting the left hand post. A rare occurance.

In the second half England could have scored after fifteen minutes but David Batty hit the ball over the bar. Sheringham could also have increased the tally but he chose to try to go alone rather than pass to Lee, who was unmarked, and failed.

Into second half injury time England at last made the score 2-0. Lee again instigating the play for the goal, finding Sheringham in the box and this time the Tottenham player succeeded in scoring.

As the final whistle sounded, it was a significant victory for England as they had vastly improved their chances for World Cup '98 qualification.

After the game England coach and his two goalscorers had the following to say:

Hoddle: "I am very pleased with that result, it's been 34 or so years since we won here, I think. We were very disciplined and did well on the counter attack. It was good to get a second goal but scoring so early did make it easier for the team, who played very well. But all credit to the players on what was a very heavy pitch. They put every ounce of effort into it. Now we've got to go and get a result against Moldova and then it will be a titanic battle in Rome. But we can still win the group."

Shearer: "I know I shouldn't have missed with the penalty but I did. But the lads dug in during the second half and that was a great perfomance. We scored two great goals and now on we go."

Reflecting on his goal Shearer said, "Paul Ince had a great run and measured his ball through me to perfection. It's just the greatest sight to see the ball go in the back of the net."

Sheringham: "The boys have come through it and everyone of them has been brilliant." And discussing his goal, "It was similar to one I could have had in the first half. I was screaming for Robert Lee to give it back and he didn't he hear me. But he did very well for me with the second goal and that's very nice."


Teams

POLAND:
Wozniak, Kaluzny, Zielinski, Jozwiak, Waldock, Bukalski (Swierczewski 45 mins), Ledwon, Justowiak (Adamczyk 53 mins), Nowak (Kucharski 60 mins), Dembinski.
Subs Not Used: Szamtotulski, Skrzypek, Michalski, Wojciechowski.

ENGLAND:
Seaman, G Neville, Campbell, Ince, Southgate, Le Saux, Beckham, (P Neville 89 mins), Gascoigne (Batty 17 mins), Shearer, Sheringham, Lee.
Subs Not Used: Pearce, Flowers, Keown, Scholes, Wright.


Match Details

England Scorers: Shearer (6 mins), Sheringham (90 mins)

Poland Cautions: Jozwiak, Majak, Kaluzny.
England Cautions: Ince, Batty

Referee: U Meier (Switzerland)

Attendance: 35,000