3 things we learned from Sweden v. Poland
Sweden beat Poland 3-2 in a thriller in St. Petersburg to dump Lewandowski and Co. out of EURO 2020 and win Group E in the process.
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Emil Forsberg scored early in both halves to put Sweden 2-0 up but then Robert Lewandowski scored twice to make it 2-2 (after somehow hitting the crossbar twice from close range) late on to set up a wild finish as Poland needed a win to go through.
But Viktor Claesson then won it in stoppage time for Sweden, as Poland were distraught at the final whistle.
With the victory Sweden will play in the last 16 in Glasgow on Tuesday, June 29, while Poland will head home.
3 things we learned, Sweden - Poland
1. Lewandowski’s miss crucial: It’s tough to have a go at Lewandowski, one of the best finishers the game has ever seen, but how did he miss that header in the first half? People will never believe the goal machine did that and even though he scored two great goals to drag Poland level, it wasn’t enough. That miss proved costly.
2. Don’t sleep on the Swedes: We do it every tournament, don’t we? Even without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was due to come out of retirement for this, Sweden have looked solid defensively and a threat in attack. In Isak, Quaison and Forsberg they have real quality in attack, and Kulusevski (who grabbed two assists off the bench) is very promising too. Sweden have an easier route in the knockout rounds and they are the true dark horses.
3. Poland’s defense all over the place: Throughout this tournament defensive mistakes have cost Poland dear. Failing to do the basics well has cost them, not Lewandowski’s miss, and this Polish team never looked comfortable with Paulo Sousa’s high-pressing tactics. In attack they were one dimensional and at the back they looked hurried and panicked. That is why they are going home.
Man of the Match: Emil Forsberg - Two moments of class to set Sweden on their way. The RB Leipzig playmaker is under-appreciated.
Sweden got off to a flying start as Isak caused problems and Forsberg surged into the box and finished calmly after 81 seconds to put them ahead.
Poland couldn’t get to grips with that fast start and Isak caused them plenty of issues in the first half.
Lewandowski somehow hit the crossbar with two headers from close range, the second from two yards out, as Poland couldn’t believe they hadn’t equalized.
Everyone in Poland, and beyond, is still scratching their heads as to how Lewandowski failed to score.
The rest of the game played out with Sweden happy to soak up pressure and then try to hit Poland on the break as they took chances in the second half.
Sweden were lively on the counter as Quaison was denied, while Poland were twice denied by Olsen in goal for Sweden as Krychowiak and Zielinski had shots on goal.
Isak went close for Sweden and then substitute Dejan Kulusevski teed up Forsberg to slam home and score his and Sweden’s second goal of the game.
Poland did pull one back as Lewandowski curled home a stunner from distance as they had hopes of launching a remarkable comeback.
And Lewandowski scored another with five minutes to go to set up a wild finish in St. Petersburg.
The Bayern forward had a cross almost sneak in as Olsen had to push it away, as Poland pushed hard for the win they needed late on.
But that allowed Sweden chances on the break as Claesson slotted home the winner to clinch top spot in Group E for Sweden.