England would be foolish to think that Poland will be an easy game at Wembley on Tuesday night, as Roy Hodgson‘s men need just a win to secure a place at the 2014 World Cup.
It is all too familiar a situation … a home game for England, just a win will do, against a team that most wouldn’t consider much of a threat is the only obstacle … flashbacks to Croatia 2007 anyone? That night, England thought they would breeze it, but failed in one of the lowest days in the nation’s footballing history.
Now five-six years on things are far more buoyant; and rightly so. England is in some good form and has the players to find a win. But it does concern my a little that some believe Poland will put up little test. The fact it is impossible to qualify for Brazil 2014 doesn’t really affect it much personally. They are all professionals; many play for some of the biggest clubs in Europe. They won’t turn up at Wembley with a very large away support and let England walk over them. They’ll want to spoil the party. More so, results matter in qualifying always, it will go towards rankings, which inevitably may lead to an easier or tougher Euro 2016 qualifying group.
The only way I can see Poland’s lack of motivation becoming a bonus for England is if Hodgson’s men are in the lead. If that happens and England continues to push on, then Poland may accept defeat because they have nothing actually need to turn the game around for. But the quality they have means you cannot allow them to control the game or have many chances. With Borussia Dortmund‘s Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski in their line up, they can create goals out of nothing. A little mistake from England and they could seriously feel the punishments. It would be foolish of England to believe it will be easy and they should respect Poland and their Dortmund stars fully. If not, they may miss out on a place in Brazil next summer.