Lewandowski sends Poland into World Cup at the expense of Sweden

Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring for Poland in the match. | PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • Poland have booked their slot in the group stage of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup
  • Poland defeated Sweden in the play-off to earn their place in the World Cup 
  • Robert Lewandowski scored from the spot while Zielinski ensured Poland are out of reach

Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski ensured Poland get to a 2-0 playoff victory over Sweden, sealing World Cup qualification in the process.

Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski beat Robin Olsen from the penalty spot before Zielinksi produced a composed finish to secure the hosts’ spot in Qatar as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hopes of appearing at what would surely have been a final World Cup were dashed.

Sweden offered promise in the first half. Emil Forsberg placed an early shot too close to Wojciech Szczesny and Jan Bednarek blocked Dejan Kulusevski’s effort.


Poland managed only one attempt on target during a tame first-half performance but needed just four minutes to hit the front after the break, Lewandowski rolling home from 12 yards after Jesper Karlstrom clumsily felled Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Poland are heading to Qatar

Poland forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring against Sweden in the World Cup playy-off on Tuesday, March 29 2021. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Szczesny made a stunning close-range save to again deny Forsberg, but Zielinski wrapped up the win when he robbed Marcus Danielson and slotted in after 72 minutes, sparking wild scenes of celebration in Chorzow.

Ibrahimovic came on with 11 minutes remaining but only had three touches as Sweden missed out on a World Cup for the third time out of the last four tournaments.

While Sweden largely dominated possession throughout the game, Poland looked the more likely to score throughout the tie and looked comfortable after Lewa opened the scoring.

The result almost surely means that Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not play at a World Cup ever again. Ibrahimovic will retire from international football as Sweden’s all-time top scorer, having scored 62 goals in 120 games for his country.

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