Harry Kane scored a fantastic opener for England but it was not enough to beat Poland in Warsaw as the home side scored an equaliser in stoppage time to pinch a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualification.
It looked like Kane’s long range effort on 72 minutes was going to be enough for the Three Lions, but substitute Damian Szymański rose to nod in a header from an excellent Jakub Moder cross in the 92nd minute to rescue a draw.
The home side were clearly trying to make things as difficult and unpleasant as possible for their guests, with tackles flying in throughout the contest.
Neither goalkeeper was busy over the match and the opener came out of the blue as England struggled to fashion a clear chance so the captain resorted to striking from range.
Kane unleased an impressive hit from 30 yards, striking the ball with his laces and curling it away to Wojciech Szczęsny’s left, which was enough to beat the goalkeeper, although it wasn’t fully into the corner of the net and the former Arsenal man possibly could have done better.
However, Kane’s 41st goal for his country wasn’t enough to claim all three points as Szymański ruined Gareth Southgate’s 100 per cent record in England’s World Cup qualification group.
England remain top of Group I, but lose their perfect record, now winning five and drawing one of their six games. Poland slip to third after Albania beat San Marino 5-0 and leapfrogged them.
Gareth Southgate made the unusual choice of not making any substitutes in the match.
It was a game of very few clear-cut chances with most of the contest only memorable its combative nature, mainly thanks to the home team.
Tackles were flying in throughout and there was no shortage of physicality on show, with referee Daniel Siebert a very busy man.
Kane had a half decent chance in the first half but could not power is header back at goal and it looped tamely across the penalty box, while Robert Lewandwoski briefly looked like he was in on goal but could not get a meaningful shot away at Jordan Pickford’s goal.
The most notable incident of the first half came just after the whistle went to end it as tempers flared and Harry Maguire clashed with Kamil Glik, leading to a yellow card for both men.
It wasn’t obvious what had happened at first but replays showed a bizarre move from Glik as he pinched Kyle Walker’s neck, which seemingly enraged Maguire.
Little was going on in the second half, with chances very few and far between until Kane broke the deadlock out of nowhere and in impressive style.
The Tottenham man unleashed a shot from around 30 yards out, bending it away from Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and seeing it hit the back of the net.
It was an excellent hit from Kane but the former Arsenal goalkeeper will be disappointed it went in as it didn’t nestle right in the corner of his goal.
Poland nearly equalised after an error from Jordan Pickford when the Everton goalkeeper went to clear the ball but hit it straight into Karol Swiderski and had to dash back towards his line to pick it up and spare his own blushes.
It looked like England were going to hang on, but the substitute headed in after fine work from Moder to delight the home fans.
The start of the match was marred as England players took the knee and were loudly booed and whistled by the home crowd in Warsaw, just as they were in Budapest ahead of the 4-0 win over Hungary last week.
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