Robert Lewandowski's heroics in vain as Poland succumb to Sweden and crash out of Euro 2020

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Viktor Claesson celebrates after making it 3-2 to Sweden at the death - GETTY IMAGES
Viktor Claesson celebrates after making it 3-2 to Sweden at the death - GETTY IMAGES

Sweden emerged triumphant from a five-goal thriller against Poland in St Petersburg, with Viktor Claesson's late winner ensuring them top spot in Group E.

Poland knew that only a win would keep them in the tournament, having picked up a solitary point from their first two games. Their task became much, much harder when, after barely a minute, Emil Forsberg combined with Alexander Isak before rifling a shot past Wojciech Szczesny and into the bottom corner.

That was Sweden's only shot of the first half, with Janne Andersson's side digging in as Poland pushed for an equaliser. Robert Lewandowski was left with his head in his hands when, having won a corner, he headed the delivery onto the underside of the crossbar before doing exactly the same on the follow-up.

As Poland threw men forwards they became increasingly vulnerable on the counter-attack and, early on in the second half, Forsberg got his second after an excellent run and assist from substitute Dejan Kulusevski. Lewandowski pulled one back almost immediately, latching onto a smart through-ball from Piotr Zielinski before curling a shot into the top corner.

What had been a cagey affair was suddenly an exhilarating fight to the finish. Poland eventually equalised with just over five minutes to go when Przemyslaw Frankowski found Lewandowski with an inviting cross and he turned on his heel to slot past Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

Just as it looked like Lewandowski's heroics might save Poland's Euro 2020 campaign, Sweden countered at the death and Kulusevski picked out fellow substitute Viktor Claesson in the box. He slid the ball past Szczesny, leaving Poland heartbroken and Sweden facing a last-16 meeting with either Finland or, more likely, Ukraine.

05:57 PM

Full time, Sweden 3 Poland 2

After a relatively cagey first half, that ended up being one of the most exciting games of the tournament so far.

Poland will be absolutely devastated, having come so close to completing a heroic comeback. Sweden will be delighted with a result which sees them top the group.

05:55 PM

GOAL! Sweden 3 Poland 2

Heartbreak for Poland, exhilaration for Sweden.

Kulusevski gets another fantastic assist, pivoting on the edge of the box and slipping Claesson in behind. The FC Krasnodar man does the rest, sliding the ball into the back of the net.

Viktor Claesson wins the game for Sweden - AP
Viktor Claesson wins the game for Sweden - AP

05:52 PM

90+2 mins

Sweden almost kill off the game for good, breaking at pace before Larsson lashes a shot over the crossbar.

05:51 PM

90+1 mins

Poland win a free kick on the halfway line and Zielinski pumps in a long ball, but Glik can't get his head on it.

05:50 PM

Five minutes of added time

... can Poland produce a moment of magic here?

05:49 PM

88 mins

So close!

Lewandowski curls a cross into the box which bends towards goal and spooks Olsen, who pushes it wide.

05:46 PM

85 mins

Poland are pushing for the winner. Bereszynski gets a bouncing shot on target, but Olsen makes the save.

05:44 PM

GOAL! Sweden 2 Poland 2

He's done it again!

Frankowski gets down the left and whips a ball into the box. Danielson fails to clear and it falls to Lewandowski, who turns on his heel and slots the equaliser.

Lewandowski and his teammates sprint back to the centre circle - GETTY IMAGES
Lewandowski and his teammates sprint back to the centre circle - GETTY IMAGES

05:43 PM

82 mins

Glik is booked for a rudimentary shove on Kulusevski.

Poland are running out of time. They can ill afford to waste precious seconds on daft fouls like that.

05:41 PM

80 mins

Sousa makes his fourth substitution, bringing off Krychowiak for Przemysław Placheta.

He goes close at a corner almost immediately, smashing a loose ball wide at the far post.

05:39 PM

Forsberg makes way

Honestly, enough with the substitutions.

Viktor Claesson comes on for Forsberg, who is applauded off the field. He deserves it for an excellent performance.

05:35 PM

74 mins

Krychowiak is booked for a thumping tackle on Kristoffer Olsson.

Sousa rolls the dice again, replacing Mateusz Klich with Kacper Kozlowski.

05:30 PM

More subs for Sweden

... with Marcus Berg and Emil Krafth coming on for Isak and Mikael Lustig respectively.

In the meantime, Forsberg tries to catch out Szczesny with an improvised effort from distance which whistles just wide.

05:28 PM


Swierczok has the ball in the back of the net, but he's flagged for offside.

After a brief VAR check, the decision stands. Poland may not have their equaliser, but this game has gone from a slow-burn affair to an absolute slugfest.

05:23 PM

Another change for Poland

... with Jozwiak swapping out for Jakub Swierczok.

05:20 PM

GOAL! Sweden 2 Poland 1

But wait a minute!

Zielinski picks out Lewandowski with a smart through-ball. He cuts inside from the left and curls one into the top corner. Game on?!

Lewandowski hauls Poland back into it - REUTERS
Lewandowski hauls Poland back into it - REUTERS

05:20 PM

GOAL! Sweden 2 Poland 0

... and there's the killer counter-attack.

Kulusevski makes an instant impact, dribbling the length of the pitch before teeing up Forsberg to score his second.

Forsberg is mobbed by his teammates - GETTY IMAGES
Forsberg is mobbed by his teammates - GETTY IMAGES

05:18 PM

Sweden make a change

... with Quaison off for Dejan Kulusevski.

05:16 PM

52 mins

Krychowiak is the latest Poland player to hit the target from long range, but Olsen is equal to it.

Poland may be working the goalkeeper, but they have largely been limited to shots from distance. They need to find a way to open Sweden up, as opposed to testing Olsen from relatively manageable positions.

05:11 PM

50 mins

Zielinski has another go from the edge of the box, but his shot flies wide.

Sweden make a rare foray forwards on the counter-attack, with Quaison going close before Forsberg has a shot blocked.

05:10 PM

46 mins

Zielinski has another long-range blast at goal, drawing another good save from Olsen.

Poland look ready to pick up where they left off, while Sweden are already settling into their defensive shape and setting themselves up to weather the storm.

05:05 PM

Teams back out

... and the second half is about to begin.

Poland have 45 minutes to retain their Euro 2020 status. Sousa makes a half-time change, bringing off Puchacz for Przemyslaw Frankowski.

04:52 PM

Half time, Sweden 1 Poland 0

After making the perfect start to the game, Sweden were happy to sit back and frustrate Poland.

Forsberg scored with their only shot in the first half. Poland, meanwhile, had excellent chances to equalise through Lewandowski and Zielinski, but now face an uphill struggle to nab at least two goals and keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive.

It's been a frustrating game for Poland so far - GETTY IMAGES
It's been a frustrating game for Poland so far - GETTY IMAGES

04:49 PM

45 mins

Jozwiak bombs up the right flank before picking out Zielinski, who plays a sharp one-two with Lewandowski just outside the area.

Zielinski then unleashes an absolute rocket, forcing Olsen into an acrobatic save. That was one of the best attacking moves of the game but, nonetheless, Poland are still without a goal.

04:42 PM

40 mins

It's all got a bit scrappy here, which suits Sweden just fine.

Puchacz forces Larsson into a mistake which earns Poland a corner, before they win another in quick succession. After a messy clearance, Zielinski gets a shot away from the edge of the box but it hits Isak and ricochets away.

04:37 PM

Meanwhile, in Spain...

Slovakia have gone 1-0 behind in bizarre fashion, with Martin Dubravka scoring a chaotic own goal.

You can follow the action right here.

04:34 PM

32 mins

Seb Larsson catches Swiderski and Poland have a free kick in a dangerous area.

After a round of head tennis in the box, Lewandowski upgrades the free kick to a corner. It's easily cleared.

04:31 PM

28 mins

Tymoteusz Puchacz floats a cross in from the left and finds Swiderski, but he can only head up into the air.

Moments later, Puchacz gets on the ball again, cuts inside and drives forwards. He finds Swiderski once more, but he gets the angle of his run all wrong and the chance evaporates.

04:29 PM

25 mins

Both sides head to the sidelines for a water break.

Poland have looked dangerous for the last 10 minutes or so, but that early goal could be a killer for them. They have little choice but to chase the win and, as the game goes on, that could leave them vulnerable on the counter-attack.

04:24 PM

22 mins

Kamil Jozwiak plays a clever diagonal through-ball to Lewandowski, but Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen reads it and snuffs out the danger.

04:19 PM

16 mins

Lewandowski gets on the ball and wins a corner from Danielson.

The delivery comes in and he heads it onto the underside of the crossbar. On the follow-up, he heads it onto the crossbar again from two yards. Poland fans will be tearing their hair out. Unbelievable.

Lewandowski rattles the goalframe - GETTY IMAGES
Lewandowski rattles the goalframe - GETTY IMAGES

04:14 PM

13 mins

Isak turns Kamil Glik and gets in behind, but his cross towards Quaison is cleared by Bartosz Bereszynski.

04:12 PM

9 mins

Sweden centre-back Marcus Danielson loses the ball in a dangerous position and fouls Swiderski while trying to recover. Lewandowski picks up the ball and charges towards the area, but Danielson's fellow defenders do well to recover and crowd him out before he can get a shot away.

Poland win a corner, which is cleared. Danielson gets a belated yellow card for the tackle on Swiderski, making him the first player to go into the book.

04:04 PM

GOAL! Sweden 1 Poland 0

Not a bad start for Sweden, that.

With barely a minute on the clock, Isak gets forwards and drives towards the box. He's tackled but manages to get the ball to Forsberg, who rifles a shot past Wojciech Szczesny and into the bottom corner.

Forsberg wheels away in celebration - AFP
Forsberg wheels away in celebration - AFP

04:00 PM


We've kicked off in St Petersburg. Let's football!

03:57 PM

National anthems

... are over and done with, which means we're about to kick off.

03:55 PM

Teams in the tunnel

... and the tension is building.

Will Sweden get another impressive result ahead of the knockouts? Or will Poland save their Euro 2020 campaign? Let's find out.

03:50 PM

Ten minutes and counting

Can you feel that? That's the unmistakable tingle of excitement which accompanies a 5pm Euro 2020 group fixture.

Lovely stuff.

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03:42 PM

One change each

Both managers have made a single change to their starting line-ups, with Andersson handing Mainz forward Robin Quaison his first start of the tournament.

Poland manager Paulo Sousa has been forced to replace Brighton midfielder Jakub Moder, who has been ruled out with a knee injury. Grzegorz Krychowiak starts in his place, having missed the Spain game through suspension after he was sent off against Slovakia.

Emil Forsberg, Robin Quaison and Alexander Isak (left to right) warm up together - GETTY IMAGES
Emil Forsberg, Robin Quaison and Alexander Isak (left to right) warm up together - GETTY IMAGES

03:26 PM

Players emerge

... with the warm-ups about to get underway.

Poland players inspect the pitch before kick off - GETTY IMAGES
Poland players inspect the pitch before kick off - GETTY IMAGES

03:13 PM

Poland team news

Poland starting XI (3-4-2-1): Szczesny; Bednarek, Glik, Bereszynski; Puchacz, Klich, Krychowiak, Jozwiak; Zielinski, Swiderski; Lewandowski.

03:10 PM

Sweden team news

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02:30 PM

Lewandowski's last chance?

Having salvaged a vital draw for Poland against Spain last weekend, Robert Lewandowski is tasked with repeating his heroics this evening.

With one point from their first two fixtures, Poland need to win or they are out of Euro 2020. It's only thanks to Lewandowski's second-half header at the Estadio La Cartuja that they are still in the competition.

While they were dominated by Spain for long periods, Lewandowski and co created enough chances to cause an upset against one of the pre-tournament favourites.

They will need to put them away against Sweden if they intend to progress, however. That means that, along with Lewandowski, Poland's other goal-getters – Piotr Zielinski and Karol Swiderski – will have to deliver.

Sweden, meanwhile, are assured a place in the knockout rounds having survived a one-sided stalemate with Spain before beating Slovakia.

They currently lead Group E with four points which, even were they to lose this game, would be enough to see them through either as runners-up or as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Though Emil Forsberg has scored their only goal at Euro 2020 so far, Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak has been one of the breakout stars of the tournament. He came within inches of snatching an unlikely win against Spain, while he also gave an influential performance against Slovakia.

Despite the fact that they already have one foot in the knockouts, Sweden manager Janne Andersson has set his sights on winning the group.

"We want to win the game and, if you look at future opponents, it's very difficult to evaluate who is hardest and who is easiest, you usually know that afterwards," he said in his pre-match press conference. "All the teams that will be in the last 16 are good football teams.

"Then again, if we win the group we play on Tuesday, if we're second we play Monday and if we're third we play on Sunday. If we can get a longer recovery period before our next game that's good.

"Just that little factor from the perspective of trying to win the game weighs heavily for me."

Robert Lewandowski in training earlier this week - SHUTTERSTOCK
Robert Lewandowski in training earlier this week - SHUTTERSTOCK
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