England vs. Poland: Keys for Three Lions to Secure World Cup Bid
England desperately need a win against Poland on Tuesday, although it will not be easy.
The squad currently stands one point ahead of Ukraine in the Group H table for UEFA World Cup qualifying. However, the second-place team faces San Marino in its final match, a squad it defeated 9-0 the last time they faced each other.
As a result, an England loss or even a draw would likely not be enough to win the pool.
While the team would still have a chance to qualify through a playoff, even that will not be easy with France, Portugal and others likely also heading towards the same fate.
The Three Lions must get a win against Poland to avoid all of this controversy, but it will need to follow these keys to make it happen.
England will be shorthanded defensively in this matchup with Ashley Cole injured and Kyle Walker suspended after being booked in the last match. While Leighton Baines is a capable reserve, the team does not want to take any chances.
In order to counter this, they must make sure to limit Poland's chances on that end of the pitch. The midfield has to control the ball and not force shots when they are not there. This would keep the ball away from Robert Lewandowski and others.
Additionally, this strategy will lead to more quality shots instead of simply firing anything that appears open.
This difference can be seen plainly in the two matches against Montenegro. England finished 1-1 when the teams met the first time thanks in part to holding only 45 percent of possession. However, they earned a 4-1 result on Friday after controlling the ball for 61 percent the match.
Smart passes and conservative play will help make this difference.
Key on Robert Lewandowski
While Poland do have other players capable of scoring—Jakub Blaszczykowski specifically has had a great tournament and continues to be a solid secondary option behind Lewandowski, just like on Borussia Dortmund—Lewandowski remains the go-to option on this attack, and Poland struggles when he does not get involved.
He has elite skill with the ball and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. When he gets a view of the net, he can finish as well as anyone in the world.
England have to make sure to not allow him any good looks throughout this match. The defense must mark him at all times, even if it comes at the expense of leaving someone else open.
You simply cannot allow a player of this caliber to do anything that beats you in this match.
Get Daniel Sturridge Involved
Wayne Rooney has done well in recent matches, but he needs help on the attack. This is where Daniel Sturridge can come in.
The Liverpool forward currently leads the English Premier League with six goals in seven matches, but he has not been seen much for the national team. Although he scored on a penalty shot late in the last contest, he has the skill to help the squad throughout the match.
Considering England's inconsistency on the attack, Sturridge could provide a lot of help in this key match.
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