Poland have has a tumultuous time in competition so far, finishing third in their group. A victory over undefeated Hungary in the last round seemed to give them back some confidence. Belgium on the other hand, have a swagger about them, almost looking careless at time. Yes we might concede, but we will always score more goals then you. They have scored 15 in four appearances, while at the other end , nine goals have gone into their goal net.
In typical Belgian fashion, they looked to take the early advantage. After some awe inspiring one touch passes, the ball found its way to Romelu Lukaku who lit the fuse on his leg and fired a cannon straight passed Wojciech Szczeny. A relentless couple of minutes followed, even though Belgium were up by a goal. Looking to double their bounty, they stormed the Polish box time and time again. Axel Witsel came close on 16 minutes before a wonderful piece of play from Dries Mertens allowed Kevin De Bruyne to run into unmanned territory and double the Belgian lead.
Poland were bereft of answer, Zielinski briefly tested Courtois just before half time but that chance did not turn into a life line. James Freyne’s Polish, had it all to do in the second half, but with a front line of Milik and Lewadownski factored in with a frail Belgium defence, all hope was not lost.
Poland started the second half off strong, refusing to wave the white flag. That perseverance paid off, Milik cut in for the right to find Zielinski, who fired a shot at the goalmouth. The power of the shot forced a save from Courtois, but the rebound bounced straight infron of Robert Lewadownski. A sleeping Carrasco failed to pick the Bayern Munich man up, and a simple tap in from the number 9 cut Belgiums lead in half.
The side many had picked to reached the finals, Belgium, were their boat rocked. Its tough when the wind is knocked out of your sails, whats even tougher is when a wave nearly capsizes the whole boat. Almost immediately after their first, Poland had equalized. A magnificant cross found the head of a free Lewadownski, who buried the ball with a stunning header to draw the game for Poland.
The next goal was crucial, Belgium looking to stop Poland’s momentum, Poland looking to ride out this wave. Perhaps the over zealous nature of a hyped up Poland team contributed to what happened next. Lukaku found Hazard in the box, who still had alot to do if he was to find space to get a shot off. Eager to force Hazards hand defender Bednarek stupidly dived in on the man renowned for his quick feet. Poland have gave away such an unavoidable penalty , and the man they fouled would be stepping up to the penalty spot to punish them. Szcezny did his best to distract Hazard, and it had worked, kind of. Moving across his goaline from side to side like a gazelle force hazard to go down the middle. The shot was saved, however due to Szczeny moving so much, he could not get his hands o n it, only his feet. With no power behind the stoppage, Hazard was able to convert the rebound, to send Belgium ahead.
The game never truly recovered, Poland after valiantly clawing their way back only to give away such a glorious opportunity seemed to give up. Kevin De Bruyne scored Belgiums fourth, before Milik got a consolation goal in the dying moments of the game.
James Freyne Poland manager seemed to indicate to KCLR he will stick around as the national team manager ” Was good fun, would deffo do something similar again”