Matchday Live - World Cup Qualifier:
England versus Poland

Join Luke James for live updates as England target a third consecutive win in Group I.

To interact with the blog, send your comments to @BoarSport.


Thanks for joining me for tonight's game! The result sees England move five points clear of Poland in Group I, two points ahead of second-placed Hungary.

If you weren't impressed by England's performance, I'll leave you with this thought. Germany lost 2-1 against North Macedonia, Joachim Low's farewell tour isn't going to plan.

That's all from me. Luke James, signing off.

Your Boar Sport Player of the Match is...

Declan Rice. Of all the players on the pitch, Rice performed his role to the highest standard. For England, the West Ham midfielder is expected to patrol the centre of the pitch, winning and retaining possession.

It wasn't glamourous - but Rice gets the job done.

I will credit two other players. John Stones bounced back well after gifting Poland their equaliser. Phil Foden was very impressive in the first half, albeit less so in the second.

Fair play to Maguire, too. The Manchester United captain was strong at both ends of the pitch tonight.

Full-Time: England 2-1 Poland, World Cup Qualifier

There are two ways of looking at tonight's match.

You could say that Gareth Southgate's side did enough, that England have done exactly what was asked of them by taking nine points from nine to open their qualifying campaign.

That, however, isn't my view.

Against this injury/Covid-depleted Poland team, England should have set their sights higher. Southgate's side were lacklustre in the second-half, bailed-out by Harry Maguire's thunder-strike from inside the area.

England's next competitive game will take place on 13 June against Croatia. The Three Lions will have to play better in that match if they want to start their EUROS campaign with a win.

90:00 - There will be four minutes of additional time.

You know the drill, send me your Player of the Match submissions via Twitter.


Harry Kane has also made way for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Jesse Lingard has replaced Raheem Sterling.


85:00 - I might be over-egging this... but England are ahead!

John Stones leaps highest at the back post, flicking the ball back into the direction of centre-back partner Harry Maguire.

The Manchester United captain has smashed it home, Szczęsny didn't really stand a chance.

Will the Three Lions hold on?

A bad second half performance from England:

Firstly, thanks to Ben for keeping me company during this liveblog - the match has been a bit of a slow burner!

I agree with the above. If the score stays as it is, this will be a terrible result for England and an absolute coup for Poland.

I'm struggling to believe that Lingard, Watkins, or Calvert-Lewin is yet to make an appearance. Southgate's inaction from the touchline has been baffling.

Could Poland win this?

Another sub... still not an English one.

76:00 - Another England set-piece opportunity goes to waste, Harry Maguire heads a wayward effort into the gloves of Wojtek Szczęsny.

74:00 - England are awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area... but Phil Foden curls his effort into the wall.

This game is starting to feel destined for a draw.

65:00 - It's been fairly quiet since the goal. Speaking of which, here is Poland's equaliser. What's your reaction to the goal - what went wrong for England?

Reaction as Poland draw level:


60:00 - A disaster for John Stones. The City defender was dispossessed on the edge of the box, gifting a golden opportunity to Jakub Moder.

Nick Pope didn't stand a chance.

An easy chance for Moder, which he took with genuine confidence.

Another change for Poland:

Time for a change?

With England cruising at the moment, my mind has started to drift towards possible substitutions. Ben would like to see Bellingham for Phillips... I agree - as I said at the start of the blog!

Aside for Bellingham, it would be good to see Calvert-Lewin given another chance for England. As the Three Lions' #2 striker, it would be ideal for DCL to have the chance to build relationships with his teammates.

48:00 - Phil Foden had the opportunity to deliver a free-kick into the box from the area next to the left corner flag. Unfortunately for the hosts, the City starlet's cross was far too powerful.

Straight out for a goal kick.

Kick-off. We go again.

Milik is on for Poland... minutes later he is booked.

An impressive night for Phil Foden:

I agree with this point from Ben Northcott.

England have been the better team, as the stats show, but it hasn't been a vintage performance. I've enjoyed Phil Foden's work on the right, his pressing has been impressive.

Nick Pope needs to use this half to prove his quality as a distributor, he hasn't done enough to sway his critics thus far.

Declan Rice: first name on the teamsheet?

One of the players looking to win a spot in England's starting XI at the EUROS is West Ham vice-captain Declan Rice.

The 22-year-old has been impressive so far tonight: has he done enough to solidify his place in Southgate's plans?

To xG or not to xG...

If you've followed my writing for a while, you'll know that I'm partial to some xG. Tonight's expected goals scoreline is particularly pleasing on the eye.

Remember, tweet @BoarSport if you would like to interact with the blog!

Highlight, yes one of them:

Harry Kane gave England the lead after 19 minutes from the penalty spot. Raheem Sterling is credited with the assist after being taken down in the box.

Was the penalty the right call or will the away side feel aggrieved?

At the time of writing (20:29) only six goals have been scored in the games that are currently ongoing.

Fourteen games are in process, including Lithuania 0-0 Italy and Germany 0-0 North Macedonia. Thrilling.

It's half-time at Wembley, by the way. 1-0 England.

39:07 - Good news! I've fixed my TV...

Back to the football, this game is typical of England in World Cup qualifiers - especially against the side seeded second in their group.

This should be the toughest game England play - Gareth Southgate would argue that his side are controlling the game so far.

It isn't vintage, but it's the kind of performance that will take England to Qatar.

What would you like to see in the second half?

Elsewhere in Group I:

San Marino 0-0 Albania '33

Andorra 0-0 Hungary '34

31:00 - Not much to report, besides from the fact my TV aerial is on its last legs.

Shots on goal: England 5-0 Poland

Shots on target: England 3-0 Poland

The visitors are yet to trouble Nick Pope, although the Burnley goalie did create some issues of his own, firing a pass at Declan Rice while under pressure.


Raheem Sterling was taken down in the penalty area.

Harry Kane scores. Straight down the middle. Simple.

England take the lead on 19 minutes.

11:43 - Phil Foden is caught offside on the far-side.

The fact that I'm reporting on players being caught offside should tell you a lot about the nature of this game.

Meanwhile in Scotland:

07:30 - Phil Foden has England's first chance of the game, heading his effort a long way over the crossbar.

Kick-Off: we're underway at Wembley!

We've seen Poland set-up with a deep-block so far, the Three Lions are dominating the ball in the opening exchanges.

Remember to tweet me with your comments throughout the game!

In defence of the 4-2-3-1:

Ben's tactical analysis (which you can read here) is fantastic... so, I won't argue with his take on the deficiencies of the 4-2-3-1.

Yes, the system includes two defence-minded midfielders. Yes, Kyle Walker probably isn't the player you want attacking from right-back against a depleted Poland team.

However, England will face tougher tests this summer. If this practice pays-off at the EUROS, playing a 4-2-3-1 will have paid-off.


Boring, Boring, Southgate?

As Ben Northcott points out, England will start tonight's match with a double pivot of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in midfield. Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker also features, starting at right-back for Southgate's side.

Should England move away from the 4-2-3-1, do you agree with Ben?

Form Book:

England sit top of Group I with six points from two games:

  1. 5-0 victory versus San Marino
  2. 3-0 victory @ Albania

Poland are second in Group I with four points:

  1. 3-0 win versus Andorra
  2. 3-3 draw @ Hungary

Mitigating Circumstances?

Poland have endured a really tricky international break. Paulo Sousa has been hit with two Covid cases (Lukasz Skorupski and Mateusz Klich) and an injury to star forward Robert Lewandowski.

The Bayern Munich star's absence is a huge blow for the travelling side, Lewandowski has scored 47 goals in 42 appearances for club and country in 2020/21.

Earlier this month, the Pole became the (joint-)second highest scorer in Bundesliga history. World class.

Whatever happens tonight, it's important to remember that Poland are not at full strength. This is a must-win game for England.

England U21s eliminated from EUROS:

A 2-1 win over Croatia was not enough for Aidy Boothroyd's Young Lions to progress to the knockout rounds of the U21 European Championships.

What does this outcome say about England's development programme? Is Boothroyd still the right coach for the job?

How are you feeling before kick-off?

If you're new to the liveblog, this is how it works.

I - Luke James - will be covering tonight's fixture between England and Poland at Wembley Stadium. If you would like to interact with me, send your comments to @BoarSport on Twitter!

To get the festivities rolling, what do make of Gareth Southgate's starting line-up?

Team News: Phillips, Mount and Rice start

With an hour until kick-off, I'm back to provide live updates from tonight's World Cup qualifying match. Tonight's team is similar to the one that took to the field against Albania on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate's only change is in defence: Ben Chillwell replaces Luke Shaw at left back.

And this is how the visitors line-up:

City Women eliminated from Champions League:

Despite a valiant fight-back, Manchester City have been eliminated from the Women's Champions League.

Chelsea march on as England's sole representatives in the competition.

BREAKING: Chelsea secure semi-final berth:

History is made as Chelsea Women progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League. In the end, it was a clear-cut victory for the Blues, winning 3-0 away in Budapest.

Chelsea have never won the Women's Champions League, with two semi-final exists the Blues' best performances to date.

Emma Hayes has managed since 2012. Today's win is a significant milestone for the Blues' boss.

Champions League update:

Following an action-packed first half in Budapest, Chelsea head into the break with a 4-1 aggregate lead. Pernille Harder opened the scoring from the penalty spot, with Sam Kerr adding Chelsea's second after 32 minutes.

Emma Hayes' side have one foot in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile in the Women's Champions League:

It's a huge afternoon in women's football, Chelsea and Manchester City feature in the running order in the Champions League.

Chelsea lead Wolfsburg 2-1 after the first leg; Manchester City trail FC Barcelona 3-0.

Will either side qualify for the semi-finals?

Ollie Watkins on the wing?

My boss is checking in on my progress... I should probably respond to his tweet.

Sam would give Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins an opportunity to start in the wide areas tonight. Controversial!

What do the rest of you think?

Armchair Gaffer:

As we inch towards kick-off, I'm calling on you to pick your England XI for this evening's match. Of the players available, I have picked a back four of James, Stones, Maguire, and Shaw.

I've handed Jude Bellingham an advanced role in midfield, flanked by Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.

You can create your own XI via the FA's website. Once you're done, send them to me!

England U21s in crisis?

England have lost both of their games so far at the U21 European Championships. They face Croatia this evening (17:00, Sky Sports) and need to win 2-0 in order to progress to the knockout rounds.

Aidy Boothroyd, the team's head coach, made some interesting comments to the media yesterday:

"The England senior men's job was called the impossible job. The England U21 team is the utterly impossible job. It's not possible to win at all levels.

"Part of the reason we haven't won this for 37 years is [that the under-21s' role is] to get players to the first team.

"Are we on the same page? Absolutely. All the way through the pathway, we're on the same page," said Boothroyd.

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"You shouldn't be working in youth development if you think your job is to win every game and not produce players for the senior team.

"We have won things in the younger age groups and as they've matured, they've been fast-tracked. That's how it works. That is the way to do it."

Do you agree with Boothroyd's comments? Should England's U21 side be aiming for silverware - or is development the aim of the game?

Hit Me Up! x Bellingham Watch:

If you're just joining me for tonight's game, welcome!

I asked my followers to let me know which players they are most looking forward to watch this evening. Drop a reply to the tweet below if you would like to get involved with the liveblog, feel free to select a player from either team!

Although there's a fair chance that Jude Bellingham might not feature tonight, the Borussia Dortmund starlet is the player I'd most like to see take to the field at Wembley.

As the stats above indicate, the 17-year-old is having an incredible season in the Bundesliga. He's among the top midfielders in Europe in terms of non-penalty expected goals and assists (npxG+xA).

Essentially, Bellingham is in the top five percent of players in his position in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and England for expected goal contributions. That's incredible for a 17-year-old.

With an eye on the Qatar World Cup, he has to go to the EUROS.

England injury update:

As previously noted, England won 2-0 against Albania on Sunday. The following 23 players were included in Southgate's matchday squad:

England enter tonight's fixture without any fresh injury concerns, Mason Mount has recovered from the knock he suffered in Tirana.

Paulo Sousa praises England:

Yesterday, Poland head coach Paulo Sousa heaped praise on tonight's hosts:

"The Premier League is the best league in the world and Gareth Southgate has one of the best national teams in the world," said the Portuguese.

"We need to take care with the spaces between the lines and to defend well the space behind our defensive line."

Poland injury update:

Premier League fans will be familiar with a number of names in the latest Poland squad, including current West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

The following players are unavailable for tonight's match:

  1. Robert Lewandowski (knee)
  2. Mateusz Klich (Covid-19)
  3. Lukasz Skorupski (Covid-19)

Lewandowski-Less Poland:

As I covered at the start of the blog, Poland are without Robert Lewandowski tonight - he's set to spend four weeks on the injury table due to a knee injury.

Last night, James Palmer got in touch with some pre-match thoughts:

As you'll see in my reply to James, Poland are in a transitional phase. There is a huge gap in experience between Paulo Sousa's established players and the latest crop coming through.

Without Lewandowski, OM forward Arkadiusz Milik will lead the line. Outside of that, Poland don't have a lot of players in their prime.

Milik, Piotr Zieliński, Krzysztof Piątek and Jan Bednarek are the only players in Poland's squad that are 27-years-old and under with more than 15 caps.

So, to answer James' question, yes, England are favourites.

Pre-match podcast:

Before tonight's game, make sure you stream the latest episode of The Boar Sport, which was hosted by our new editor, Sam Matthews Boehmer, for the first time.

We spent the show selecting our provisional England XI's ahead of the EUROs.

My team includes Nick Pope in goal, with Declan Rice and Mason Mount in central midfield. 4-2-3-1. That's all I'm saying.

Poll: who will win tonight's game?

Southgate takes inspiration from France:

During comments made to the media yesterday, England boss Gareth Southgate suggested that his side should look to France and Portugal as examples to follow.

“I just think when I’ve watched the French and Portuguese, teams that have won, they are savvy and experienced winners. And that’s something we have to add to this group," Southgate said.

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“There’s a lot of young players in this group, they haven’t won things at their club - we’ve got to help them learn how to win big matches. That’s part of our responsibility as well as of course the experiences they will get at their clubs.

“But we mustn’t miss those opportunities. If we came off the other night and patted everyone on the back and said: ‘we had 70 percent of the ball, that’s good and scored our two goals.’ That’s fine but it’s not going to be enough and we have to constantly strive for more.”

Familiar Foes:

England hold a winning record against today's visitors to Wembley Stadium, winning 11 of the sides 19 previous meetings.

The Three Lions last encountered Poland during the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, winning 2-0 under former manager Roy Hodgson.

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England's last, and only, defeat against tonight's opponents came in a World Cup qualifying match in 1973.

Robert Gadocha and Wlodzimierz Lubanski scored in Poland's 2-0 win over an England side captained by Bobby Moore and managed by Alf Ramsey.

England have drawn with Poland on seven occasions, including a 1-1 draw in Warsaw in 2012.

Robert Lewandowski injured:

The news of the week is that Poland centre forward Robert Lewandowski is not available for tonight's World Cup qualifying clash.

The Bayern Munich forward was injured during Poland's 3-0 win over Andorra, a game in which Lewandowski continued his goal-scoring run

The 32-year-old will spend a month on the sidelines after sustaining a knee injury during Sunday's match. As a result, the Pole will miss both legs of Bayern's Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

Welcome Back!

This article is a live blog, brought to you by The Boar Sport. Throughout the day, I'll be here to provide updates before, during and after England versus Poland.

I'm Luke James, The Boar's former Sport Editor.

If you would like to interact with the blog, please send your thoughts to @BoarSport and/or @LukeJames_32 on Twitter.

I'll be updating the page every couple of hours during the day, with my 'match' coverage starting an hour before kick-off.

Reminder, England host Poland in a World Cup qualifying match at Wembley Stadium; the game kicks-off at 19:45 and is being broadcast on ITV1.