Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian

3.30pm GMT

Here’s your match report, from Louise Taylor at the game. Thanks for joining us.

Related: Robert Lewandowski gets first World Cup goal as Poland beat Saudi Arabia

3.10pm GMT

Poland celebrate. Robert Lewandowski in particular is delighted, having scored his 77th goal for his country, and his first at a World Cup finals. Poland had to dig deep for that win. It might have been different had Salem Al Dawsari, Saudi Arabia’s hero against Argentina, scored from the spot just before half time. However Wojciech Szczęsny saved, then tipped the rebound effort spectacularly over the bar, and it turned out to be one of those days for the Saudis, who were impressive in attack but just couldn’t find the final touch. But it’s still all to play for in Group C. Over to Argentina and Mexico, who face off this evening!

3.03pm GMT

FULL TIME: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia

Poland move to the top of Group C at Saudi Arabia’s expense.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Poland 2 2 4
2 Saudi Arabia 2 -1 3
3 Mexico 1 0 1
4 Argentina 1 -1 0

3.02pm GMT

90 min +6: Saudi Arabia have had no luck with injuries this week, and they’ve had no luck in front of goal today. Kanno tries to send a curler into the bottom right, but the ball bounces inches wide of the post. Szczesny wouldn’t have got to it.

3.01pm GMT

90 min +5: Al Abid is replaced by Bahbri.

3.00pm GMT

90 min +4: Play is stopped so Al Abid can get some treatment for a sore face, Lewandowski having accidentally planted his knee on it.

2.58pm GMT

90 min +3: Alobud makes his presence felt down the right and sends in a couple of crosses in short order. Both are easily cleared.

2.57pm GMT

90 min +2: Poland win another corner, this time on the left. Frankowski swings it in. Al Owais punches it clear.

2.56pm GMT

90 min +1: The first of seven bonus minutes, and Poland do nothing with their corner.

2.56pm GMT

90 min: The Education City Stadium is pretty quiet now, with Poland almost home and hosed. Lewandowski dribbles down the inside-right channel and breaks through a tired Saudi defence. He’s one on one with Al Owais! He attempts to dink over, but the keeper sticks out a strong arm to deflect wide right. What a save!
Lewandowski takes a shot that Al-Owais saves. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Updated at 3.07pm GMT

2.54pm GMT

88 min: A chance for Alobud to run at the last man Bereszynski, but the Poland defender is not to be moved. Some stubborn behaviour, and Alobud is forced to turn tail.

2.52pm GMT

87 min: Al Dawsari crosses deep from the left. Alobud rises highest at the far stick but can only waft a header onto the top of the net.

2.51pm GMT

86 min: Al Shehri and the bitterly disappointed Al Malki make way for Alobud and Al Dawsari.

2.50pm GMT

84 min: Lewandowski celebrates with the air of a man who has just had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders. It’s been a long time coming. When it did, it was farcical. But they all count!

2.49pm GMT

GOAL! Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia (Lewandowski 82)

Robert Lewandowski finally scores a goal at a World Cup … and it’s a gift from Saudi Arabia. Al Bulayhi, on the left-hand corner of his own box, rolls a pass along the line towards Al Malki in the middle. Al Malki takes his eye off the ball and lets it roll under his boot. Lewandowski nicks it away and slots past Al Owais, simple as that!
Lewandowski scores Poland’s second goal past Al-Owais. Photograph: Héctor Vivas/FIFA/Getty Images
Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his first ever World Cup goal. Photograph: Héctor Vivas/FIFA/Getty Images

Updated at 2.57pm GMT

2.46pm GMT

80 min: Space for Al Gannam down the right. He chests a long pass down and creams a cross through the six-yard box. Al Shehri dives at the near post but can’t connect. The Saudis have come so close, so often, but there’s still no reward.

Updated at 2.46pm GMT

2.44pm GMT

79 min: Abdulhamid dribbles into the Poland box from the left. He can’t quite get a shot away. The ball breaks back to Almalki, with time and space to shoot from the edge of the D. His low fizzer sails inches wide of the right-hand post. Not entirely sure Szczesny was getting to that had it been on target.

2.42pm GMT

77 min: Al Amri is back up and running.

2.41pm GMT

76 min: Al Amri is down with a sore shoulder. On come the physios.

2.40pm GMT

75 min: Saudi Arabia probe. Poland steal the ball and counter. Kaminski slips Lewandowski clear from the halfway line. Al Owais races out of his box and blasts the ball away from Lewandowski’s reach, just in time.

2.39pm GMT

73 min: Piatek makes his way down the right and cuts back for Lewandowski, who takes a first-time slap at goal. Blocked. Poland are threatening a second that would surely seal the deal.

2.36pm GMT

71 min: Milik makes way for Piatek.

2.34pm GMT

69 min: Al Dawsari sends a curler towards the bottom right. Szczesny is behind it all the way.

2.33pm GMT

68 min: Al Abid slams the free kick straight into the Poland wall. What a waste.

2.32pm GMT

67 min: Al Brikan dribbles down the inside-right channel and is crudely shoved over by Bielik. A free kick coming up in a very dangerous position, just outside the Polish box.

2.32pm GMT

65 min: Al Gannam comes on for Al Burayk. Play restarts and Poland hit the woodwork again! A low cross from the right is met by Lewandowski, who sidefoots over Al Owais and onto the right-hand post! Poland denied by the frame of the goal twice in a couple of minutes!

2.30pm GMT

64 min: The crossbar is still reverberating.

2.29pm GMT

63 min: Zielinski is replaced by Kaminski. Play restarts, and Frankowski crosses from the left. Milik launches into a Keith Houchenesque diving header, aiming for the top left. His header crashes off the bar and away! That would have been a hell of a goal!
Milik heads at goal and hits the crossbar. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Updated at 2.35pm GMT

2.27pm GMT

61 min: And another chance! Al Shehri dribbles in from the right and prepares to shoot, only to lose control of his legs. The ball breaks to Kanno, who hoicks over. How are Saudi Arabia not level?

2.26pm GMT

60 min: A beautiful spin on the edge of the Poland box by Al Dawsari, making space in the pocket and slipping Al Brikan into the box. Al Brikan shoots across Szczesny but wide and high. What a chance!

2.25pm GMT

59 min: “The goalmouth scramble has reignited the home, sorry Saudi, crowd,” reports Hugh Molloy. “Yalla, yalla!”

2.24pm GMT

57 min: Cash converts in the rugby-union style from 30 yards. An equal level of absurdity to the melee of a couple of minutes ago.

2.22pm GMT

55 min: A huge tangle in the Polish box. Al Abid, Al Dawsari and Al Shehri all attempt to prod home from six yards, legs and boots poking out of an absurd comic-strip cloud. Somehow they can’t get past Szczesny, who makes a stop. His defenders chip in with a couple of blocks, and eventually the ball’s blazed over the bar. How did that not go in?

2.19pm GMT

53 min: Al Shehri clatters into the back of Krychowiak, and is fortunate to escape a booking.

2.17pm GMT

51 min: Al Dawsari works his way down the left and earns a corner off Milik. The ball’s worked from left to right and swung into the box by Al Burayk. Kanno attempts an overhead kick, but no Richarlison he. Wide right, though full marks for ambition.
Kanno shoots at goal. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Updated at 2.24pm GMT

2.15pm GMT

49 min: Al Owais sprints over-confidently out of his box and nearly cleans out Krychowiak. Fortunately there’s no contact or he’d be in the wonderful world of Wayne Hennessey.

2.14pm GMT

48 min: Al Abid’s free kick is a waste of time. Poland clear it easily enough, and Milik draws a foul from Al Dawsari to release the pressure.

2.13pm GMT

47 min: Al Burayk wins an early second-half corner for the Saudis. Al Abid takes, and takes long. The ball’s half cleared, but Krychowiak bundles Al Burayk over and it’s a free kick for the Saudis out on the right.

2.10pm GMT

Saudi Arabia get the second half underway. They’ve made one change, swapping out Al Naji for Al Abid. “Cash should definitely have walked,” writes Ingo Herzke. “That elbow was far worse than the foul he was booked for. But he was allowed to make the Polish goal.”

1.59pm GMT

Half-time team talk, courtesy of Guillaume Clément . “That video of Hervé Renard’s pep talk at half-time vs Argentina reminds me of the great Gallic tradition of the half-time hairdryer treatment as last seen in Aimé Jacquet’s verbal walloping of the French team at half-time of the semi-final vs Croatia in 1998. Even if you don’t speak French, the tone and body language speak for themselves.”

1.56pm GMT

HALF TIME: Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

The exact same position the Saudis found themselves in against Argentina, you’ll remember.

1.55pm GMT

45 min +10: Al Dawsari takes a heavy touch allowing Poland to counter. Lewandowski should scoot clear, but he allows the ball to clank between his legs and away.

1.54pm GMT

45 min +8: Frankowski slips a pass in from the right. Zielinski can’t quite get to the ball, allowing Al Owais to deal with the situation.

1.53pm GMT

45 min +7: A pause in play as Al Malki goes down, requiring treatment. We’ll have more than ten added minutes now.

1.50pm GMT

45 min +5: You’ll notice we’re well into added time. There’s going to be another five minutes of it as well.

1.49pm GMT

45 min +4: Al Amri is booked for a frustrated lunge on Lewandowski.

1.49pm GMT

45 min +3: Szczesny looked off his line – just – when Al Dawsari took that penalty. But here we are.

Updated at 2.04pm GMT

1.48pm GMT

45 min +2: That’s sucked the air out of the stadium all right. Poland celebrated Szczesny’s saves as you would a goal.

Updated at 2.04pm GMT

1.47pm GMT

45 min +1: … but Szczesny gets down and parries! The rebound falls to Al Burayk, who blazes over! Hold on, no he doesn’t! That’s on target, and Szczesny has made a stunning reflex save! There’s a question as to whether Szczesny was off his line for the initial save, but there won’t be a retake, and the corner comes to nothing.
Szczesny dives to his right to save the penalty. Photograph: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock
Szczesny is mobbed by his teammates. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Updated at 2.04pm GMT

1.46pm GMT

45 min: Al Brikan prepares to take. Lewandowski trots up and stands in front of him. Delaying tactics to unsettle Al Brikan … and so Saudi change the taker! Al Dawsari steps up and aims for the bottom left …

1.45pm GMT

Penalty for Saudi Arabia!

44 min: The referee goes over to the screen, makes the TV mime, and points to the spot. The crowd go wild!
Bielik fouls Al-Shehri to concede a penalty. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Updated at 1.48pm GMT

1.44pm GMT

43 min: Noise back up! Al Shehri goes over in the box. It’s theatrical, but Bielik has made contact with his ankle. VAR to check!

1.43pm GMT

42 min: That’s quietened the stadium a little. “Media and BP section placement absolutely killing Mexican Waves this World Cup,” writes Hugh Molloy. “I’ll leave it with you to decide if this is a good thing!”

1.42pm GMT

40 min: Poland, their tails suddenly up, nearly make it two in short order. Lewandowski powers down the inside-right channel and whistles the ball across the face of goal. There’s nobody in white there to trundle home.

1.40pm GMT

GOAL! Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia (Zielinski 39)

Saudi Arabia have been the better side, but it’s Poland who lead! Cash is sent scampering into space down the right. He crosses low. Lewandowski tries to lift the ball over Al Owais, but the ball breaks to the right of the six-yard box. Lewandowski chases after the ball himself and cuts back for Zielinski, who roofs home from six yards!
Zielinski scores. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters
Zielinski (covered) celebrates with teammates. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.50pm GMT

1.39pm GMT

38 min: Al Bulayhi is bandaged and back up and running.

1.38pm GMT

37 min: Al Bulayhi is down, Lewandowski having accidentally studded him on the arm accidentally in that aforementioned incident. The pause in play allows Renard to give Al Naji and Al Shehri some beneficial tactical advice in this style:

1.36pm GMT

36 min: Lewandowski thinks he’s battled his way past Al Bulayhi down the right, but as he prepares to shoot from a tight angle, the referee penalises him for pulling his opponent to the ground.

1.35pm GMT

34 min: Al Amri crunches into Milik. Hard but fair. The crowd loved that. A huge roar. “Brilliant family, as well as febrile, atmosphere in today,” reports this report’s co-author Hugh Molloy.

1.33pm GMT

32 min: Abdulhamid works his way down the right and cuts back for Al Naji, who whistles a cross through the Polish box. Al Shehri can’t get on the end of it. Poland aren’t settled at all.

1.31pm GMT

30 min: A long ball nearly releases Lewandowski down the middle. The big man can’t control. Saudi counter, and Kanno foolishly but deliberately handballs on the edge of the Polish box. No need for it, but he doesn’t go into the book, much to the annoyance of several Poland players and assorted members of their bench.

1.28pm GMT

28 min: One of Hervé Renard’s assistants cops a yellow card for excessive flapping of the neck. He accepts his punishment meekly and sits back down in the dugout.

1.27pm GMT

26 min: Poland win their first corner down the right, and nearly convert it. Zielinski swings it in. Bielik rises and sends a powerful header goalwards. Al Shehri, near his own goalline, eyebrows it over the bar. Nothing comes of the next corner.
Bielik heads at goal. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters
Poland's Glik reacts. Photograph: Andrej Isaković/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.33pm GMT

1.25pm GMT

24 min: Al Sawsari dribbles fast and hard down the left. Poland backpedal fast. Al Sawsari is forced to turn tail, but Saudi probe again, this time down the right. Glik clears Abdulhamid’s cross.

1.22pm GMT

22 min: After a brief period of treatment, Al Burayk is back up and about. Cash has the good grace to look a bit sheepish. He knows he might have got away with one there.

1.21pm GMT

20 min: Cash sticks his elbow into Al Burayk’s neck. Al Malki isn’t happy at all with the foul, and tells the referee as much. He gets booked for his trouble and will miss the next game. As for Cash, he’s very fortunate not to see a second yellow. Another referee might have sent him packing there.

1.19pm GMT

19 min: Yet another Polish booking as Milik tugs at the in-flight Al Amri’s shirt. Poland aren’t coping well with the Saudi press at all.

1.17pm GMT

17 min: Al Burayk swings a harmless free kick into the Polish box. Easy for Szczesny.

1.17pm GMT

16 min: … and Cash quickly follows him into the book, sliding in late on Al Dawsari. Kiwior’s yellow was slightly harsh, but there was nothing for Cash to complain about there.
Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio shows a yellow card Cash for a foul on Al-Dawsari. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.22pm GMT

1.15pm GMT

15 min: The first booking of the match. Kiwior accidentally high-kicks Al Shehri and sees yellow.

1.14pm GMT

13 min: Cash thinks he’s sent Lewandowski free down the middle but the referee pulls the play back for a foul. There didn’t seem a whole lot wrong with that. The lively Kanno goes up the other end and aims for the top right, forcing Szczesny to tip over the bar. Nothing comes of the resulting corner but the underdogs appear to be in the mood to do their thing again.

1.12pm GMT

11 min: Kanno is definitely in the mood to put it about. He slides in late on Krychowiak and is lucky not to go into the book. “This is the best atmosphere by miles,” reports our man in the stand Hugh Molloy. “Arabia vs The World.”
Al-Malki protests to Referee Wilton Sampaio after Krychowiak Kanno collide. Photograph: François Nel/Getty Images

Updated at 1.15pm GMT

1.10pm GMT

10 min: Saudi have enjoyed 57 percent of possession so far. But it’s Poland who nearly fashion the first big chance, Bereszynski rolling a pass down the inside-left channel that nearly finds Lewandowski in the box. The ball sails through to Al Owais in the Saudi goal.

1.08pm GMT

8 min: A corner for Saudi on the right. Nothing comes of it.
A close up of Lewandowski’s armband of with a message to save the planet. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Updated at 1.18pm GMT

1.06pm GMT

7 min: Sorry, we’re having some technical issues. You’ve not missed much.

Updated at 1.09pm GMT

1.04pm GMT

4 min: Saudi are on the front foot early doors. Al Shehri dribbles into the Polish box from the left but can’t work enough space to shoot from a tight angle.

Updated at 1.07pm GMT

1.02pm GMT

2 min: All Naji skitters in from the left and slips over. He wants a free kick on the edge of the box but he’s not getting one. The predominately Saudi-supporting crowd boo vociferously.

1.01pm GMT

1 min: A fairly brisk start. Passes not sticking. Kanno leaves one on Lewandowski, just to let him know he’s there.
Kanno and Al-Malki challenge Lewandowski. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.10pm GMT

1.00pm GMT

Saudi pose for a group photo. They hold up the shirt of the stricken Yasser Al-Shahrani, a show of support and love. Then Poland get the ball rolling.

12.55pm GMT

The teams are out! Poland in white, the Saudis in second-choice green. Hugh Molloy is at the ground with his four-year-old, Rufus. “It’s clear that the Qatari supporters are firmly on team Saudi today,” he writes. “As to fashion, there’s a brilliant 50/50 split between Saudi shirts and traditional white thobes. Those with white gutras, the head piece, tend to be Qatari, the red/white check style is more Saudi. It’s 99% Saudi fans and band wagon jumping neutrals today. Rufus is on team Poland because his favourite colour is red.” We’ll be off once the anthems are played.

Updated at 12.56pm GMT

12.38pm GMT

Pre-match pep talk.

“I found the video of Hervé Renard’s halftime team talk from the Argentina game really interesting,” writes Kári Tulinius. “His body language is so expressive that the Arabic interpreter is almost unnecessary. I feel I would’ve understood him even with the sound off.”

12.33pm GMT

Poland boss Czeslaw Michniewicz has responded to accusations of being overly defensive by giving Robert Lewandowski a strike partner. Arkadiusz Milik will assist their star man up front.

Saudi Arabia are without Yasser Al-Shahrani. The defender collided with his own keeper, Mohamed Al-Owais, during the last throes of the win over Argentina and suffered a broken jaw and internal bleeding. He’s had surgery back home and happily has posted on Twitter that his “health is good”.

12.12pm GMT

The teams

Poland: Szczesny, Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski, Zielinski, Milik, Lewandowski.
Subs: Jedrzejczyk, Wieteska, Bednarek, Damian Szymanski, Grosicki, Skorupski, Kaminski, Swiderski, Zurkowski, Sebastian Szymanski, Zalewski, Grabara, Piatek, Gumny, Skoras.

Saudi Arabia: Al-Owais, Abdulhamid, Al-Amri, Al-Bulayhi, Al-Burayk, Al-Malki, Al-Buraikan, Al-Naji, Kanno, Salem Al-Dawsari, Al-Shehri.
Subs: Al-Rubaie, Al-Ghanam, Madu, Otayf, Al-Hassan, Al-Abed, Bahbri, Al-Aboud, Al-Aqidi, Nasser Al-Dawsari, Asiri, Tambakti.

11.31am GMT


In case you were wondering what that almighty rattle was, the earth was knocked off its axis last Tuesday by this …

Related: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

… and now Saudi Arabia are one win away from securing a place in the last 16 for only the second time in their history. The first being 1994, Belgium, Saeed Al-Owairan, all that. Poland’s uninspiring goalless draw with Mexico – in which Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty – will surely have given the Saudis extra belief that they can make it. Not that they really require it after seeing off Lionel Messi et al, but you get the general gist. Poland meanwhile will feel a win is essential, with a final game against pre-tournament favourites Argentina coming up. Kick off is at 1pm GMT, 4pm at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. انه يحدث! It’s on!

Related: Mexico 0-0 Poland: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

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