Lewandowski and Szczesny the stars as Poland beat vibrant but wasteful Saudi Arabia

Lewandowski and Szczesny the stars as Poland beat vibrant but wasteful Saudi Arabia
Captain Robert Lewandowski scored Poland's second goal
Captain Robert Lewandowski scored Poland's second goal
Profimedia, Opta by StatsPerform
Poland, who were rather toothless against Mexico in their opening match, met a Saudi Arabia side coming off a historic victory over Messi's Argentina and it was certainly an entertaining affair. The Saudis had plenty of chances but Wojciech Szczesny (32) proved too hard to beat in goal, saving a first-half penalty. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski (34) set up the first and scored the second for Poland.

16:10 CET: Well, it's certainly been a fun match for the neutral. The Saudi Arabia fans, though, might be wondering how they lost that one. They will rue the penalty they missed just before halftime as that would have levelled things and changed the complexion of the match completely.

Credit to Poland's key players. Szczesny's penalty save and all-round performance kept them in the game and Lewandowski's quality upfront created one goal and helped him to pounce on a terrible error at the back from Saudi Arabia to score the second. Those two world-class players made the difference today.

Check out Rory Baird's full match report here and all the match stats below.

Second Half

Match stats
Opta by Stats Perform

16:04 CET: That's full-time here at the Education City Stadium and it ends 2-0 to Poland. Stay tuned for all the match stats.

16:02 CET: Mohamed Kanno whips a bending shot just wide of the goal. Another good effort but just not quite enough for Saudi Arabia. That's been the story of the game for them, really.

16:00 CET: There will be seven minutes added to this half. Unfortunately for Saudi Arabia, it won't be enough to turn things around.

15:55 CET: Almost a third goal as Lewandowski dances through on goal but the keeper and defender manage to get the ball away.

15:51 CET: That will most likely be game-over, you'd think, with only a few minutes to go. And that will be hard to take for the Saudi Arabia fans. They've seen their team play really well today but they haven't taken their chances. Poland, on the other hand, have been clinical.

15:47 CET: GOAL Poland! That was a huge error from the Saudi defender as he mis-controls the ball and it rolls to the on-rushing Robert Lewandowski, who slots the ball away with ease.

15:44 CET: Another chance opens up for Saudi Arabia. This time Abdulelah Al Malk fires from the edge of the box and it whistles past Szczesny's post. They need to make this pressure count before they run out of time.

15:36 CET: 20 minutes of regular time to go here. Another change for Poland - Piatek is on for Milik in a straight swap. As the match wears on, the Saudis will be bemoaning that missed penalty in the first half more and more. They have had the better possession and chances but Poland look more clinical and have come close to a couple more goals in this second half.

15:32 CET: There have been a couple of changes. Kaminski is on for Zielinski for Poland. Also, Al Ghannam replaced Mohammed Al Breik for Saudi Arabia.

15:31 CET: Poland come close again! Lewandowski latches onto a pass first-time and his shot is deflected onto the right post. 

15:29 CET: Arkadiusz Milik connects with a cross with a diving header and his effort rattles the bar. That was close. They might not be controlling the match but Poland do look likely in the box.

15:28 CET: Here's a look at the match's momentum in the first hour. As you can see - it's been mostly Saudi Arabia today but Poland lead in the metric that really counts.

Momentum in first hour
Opta by Stats Perform

15:26 CET: A really nicely worked opportunity by Saudi Arabia. Firas Al Buraikan receives a lovely pass inside the area but fires over. They certainly play some good stuff.

15:22 CET: The frantic pace of the first half has settled down just a bit as the hour-mark approaches, perhaps they all need a breather. Saudi Arabia is still dominant in terms of possession but Poland is defending resolutely.

15:20 CET: Another huge save by Szczesny. The ball was bobbling around dangerously in the Polish box and a Saudi shot finds its way through but Szczesny is equal to it. He's having a great game.

15:10 CET: The teams are back out on the field and Saudi Arabia kick the second half off. They have made one change at halftime - Nawaf Al Abed has come on for Sami Al Najei.

First Half

First half stats
Opta by Stats Perform

14:56 CET: That's halftime here and it's been entertaining stuff. Not many chances for either team but there have been five yellow cards, a missed penalty and plenty of feisty tackles. Poland lead 1-0 at the break and that's the stat that really matters. Stay tuned for a full stats analysis from the half.

14:51 CET: The Saudis might go on to rue that missed penalty as the break looms. They have dominated possession and had the better chances but Poland have world-class quality at both ends in Szczesny and Lewandowski - they have been the difference makers for them - and that sees them leading.

14:49 CET: Another yellow card for Saudi Arabia, this time to Abdulelah Al Amri. And there will be a whole 10 minutes added on in this half.

14:46 CET: MISSED! Salem Al Dawsari steps up to take the penalty but Szczesny picks the right way and then backs that up with an incredible second save to tip the follow-up shot just over the bar. That's game-saving stuff from Szczesny!

14:45 CET: Penalty! Seems quite harsh on Bielik but he does just catch the player.

14:44 CET: It's possibly a penalty here for Saudi Arabia as the referee goes to review a tackle in the box.

14:40 CET: GOAL! Poland. Piotr Zielinski finishes off a well-crafted attack by Poland after Lewandowski does the hard bit and cuts the ball back to him unmarked in the area. 

14:36 CET: Robert Lewandowski surges through the Saudi defence and close to goal but he's pulled up for a foul on the Saudi defender who goes down in pain and is now being treated. Still just the one attempt at goal by the Poles, they haven't got going in an attacking sense just yet. Stay tuned for a full stats breakdown at halftime.

14:26 CET: Chance for Poland as Bielik rises highest from a corner and heads the ball powerfully but it is defended away.

14:24 CET: Poland's Glik probably should have been pulled up for holding onto the Saudi forward but they broke away regardless. Credit to Saudi Arabia, they are buzzing about and causing lots of problems. So far they are the better team out there.

14:21 CET: And now one for Saudi Arabia. Abdulelah Al Malki goes into the book as well. It's been a story of yellow cards so far in this match. Both teams seem really up for it but there are now four players walking a tightrope.

14:20 CET: A third yellow for Poland! Arkadiusz Milik deserved that one, too. He grabbed the Saudi player by his shorts as he broke away.

14:16 CET: And another yellow for Poland. This time for Matty Cash on the right wing for a late tackle. Two yellows already - perhaps a red coming in this game, it's a feisty contest.

14:15 CET: The referee shows a yellow card to Jakub Kiwior (Poland) for a blatant foul. It's quite early in the match to start the bookings but this match needed one, you feel, just to settle the pace down.

14:13 CET: There's our first shot on target and what an effort by Mohamed Kanno for the Saudis. Wojciech Szczesny pulls off a brilliant save for Poland as the ball is bent towards his top corner for the edge of the area.

14:11 CET: Ten minutes in and there hasn't been much by way of shots - just one for Saudi Arabia flying over the bar. But despite that, the match is still pretty end-to-end. It feels more like a knockout contest this, the Poles will be desperate to get a win on the board and the Saudis know they can qualify with a victory. 

14:06 CET: It's been a high-energy opening five minutes, tackles flying in on the pitch and that energy is matched by a raucous atmosphere by the mostly Saudi Arabian fans. 

14:01 CET: Poland kick-off.

13:57 CET: Welcome to our live updates from Poland versus Saudi Arabia. The teams are out on the pitch at the Education City stadium, Poland in white and red and Saudi Arabia in their lovely all forest green kit. Today's referee is Wilton Sampaio from Brazil. Take a look at the team lineups below and stay tuned for updates and stats graphics throughout the match.

Team News

Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz has beefed up his attack by including two strikers while Saudi Arabia have made three changes for the match.

Michniewicz was criticised for a largely defensive lineup as Poland laboured in their goalless opener against Mexico on Tuesday and chose to pair up Robert Lewandowski with Arkadiusz Milik up front this time around.

The switch will be welcomed by Lewandowski, who has openly requested support in attacking duties in the recent months.

Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard has made three changes to the side who stunned Argentina in their opening game - two of them due to injuries - he brings in Abdulelah Al-Amri, Mohammed Al-Breik, Sami Al-Najei.

The Saudis will be without defender Yasser Al-Shahrani, who underwent surgery back home following a severe facial and abdomen injury in the first match, and captain Salman Al-Faraj.


Wojciech Szczesny, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, Matty Cash, Bartosz Bereszynski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Piotr Zielinski, Krystian Bielik, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Robert Lewandowski

Saudi Arabia:

Mohamed Al-Owais, Abdulelah Al-Amri, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Mohammed Al-Breik, Mohamed Kanno, Saud Abdulhamid, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Saleh Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari, Firas Al-Buraikan, Sami Al-Najei.

See how they shape up here.


With every match in the World Cup, each group changes dramatically.

The Saudis shocked the world with their 2-1 win over Argentina and put themselves in a fantastic position to qualify for the next round. 

Poland, on the other hand, barely broke into the headlines with their drab 0-0 draw with Mexico but they did no harm to their chances in picking up a point.

Both sides know that the other should be respected for different reasons. Saudi Arabia have all the momentum in Group C but Poland have one of the greatest players in the world in Robert Lewandowski (34). 

Stay tuned for our live updates or follow the match with our audio commentary here.