Sweden 3-2 Poland: Blågult top Group E with victory over Poland
(Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images)

Sweden fended off a valiant fightback from Poland, led by their star player Robert Lewandowski, to take a 3-2 victory that sees them top Group E at Euro 2020.

It was a hard-fought encounter in Russia, with both sides having their fair share of opportunities, but it was Sweden who would fend off an almighty fightback attempt from Poland to take their tally to seven points and solidify a mightily impressive record in Group E, a group which Spain were expected to win in the build-up to the competition.

Story of the match

Sweden had the perfect start to the game at the St Petersburg Stadium and took the lead within the opening two minutes when midfielder Emil Forsberg collected a loose ball from the edge of the 18-yard-box, before firing past Wojciech Szczęsny in the Polish goal to score the second-fastest goal in the history of the Euros. A disastrous start for Poland, who knew that only a win would guarantee their progression to the knockout stages.

Despite the extreme amount of pressure they were under, Poland would grow into the game particularly well after going behind and they had a glorious chance to equalise when the greatest player in their history, Robert Lewandowski had a free header from a corner. But instead of scoring, like he so often does, their all-time top scorer failed to convert either of his two opportunities from the corner, the second a complete sitter from no more than a yard out.  

Poland would continue to dominate the opening half, but for all their possession they were wasteful in attack and failed to create as many openings as their time with the ball justified, Piotr Zielinski's long-range effort the closest they came, a dipping strike that called Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen into a save just before the half-time break.

A frustrating first-half for Poland, who for all their dominance found themselves behind and knew they'd have a mountain to climb in the second half to change their fate.

Paulo Sousa's side did have a positive start to the second half of the clash and came close to equalising within minutes of the restart, once again it was Piotr Zielinski, who launched another venomous strike from range after receiving a pass from Derby County winger Kamil Jóźwiak, Robin Olsen once again equal to it.

Poland would be punished for not taking their chances after a large spell of being the only team who looked like scoring and were hit brutally on the counter-attack when lively youngster Dejan Kulusevski, supplied Emil Forsberg who drilled home his second goal of the game. A well-deserved brace for the 29-year-old. A sucker punch for Poland whose hopes were now hanging by a thread.

But despite squandering his chances in the first half and having a relatively quiet game Robert Lewandowski stepped up for his country like he so often does, a piece of solo brilliance from the Bayern Munich striker who curled a delightful strike into the top corner. A glimmer of hope provided for Biało-czerwoni by their shining star.

After two goals in as many minutes, the game would once again return to its conservative nature, this was until Lewandowski added his second goal of the game in the 84th minute, when he latched onto a delivery from Przemysław Frankowski before placing the ball into the bottom corner from close-range.

The great escape was now well and truly on and Poland were giving it everything they had to find a winning goal that would take them through to the last 16, but their hearts were broken as Sweden struck them on the counter-attack once again. A killer pass from Dejan Kulusevski and a ruthless finish from Viktor Claesson the match-winner for the Swedes who were made to work hard for their triumph in St Petersburg.

. Takeaways from the game

Sweden top Group E

Sweden were made to work extremely hard for the victory that would seal their place at the top of Group E, with Poland giving it their all to overturn the 2-0 deficit and coming extremely close to doing so.

But Sweden would find a late match-winner, which came in the path of substitute Viktor Claesson. As cruel as it was on Poland, it was no more than Jan Andersson's side deserved for withstanding a barrage of pressure from Poland in the second half.

So Sweden top Group E, a remarkable achievement for Blågult who will now prepare to face one of the best third-place finishers in Glasgow next Tuesday.

. Man of the match

Robert Lewandowski

Despite their gut-wrenching defeat, Poland put in a fine display, particularly after going 2-0 down and as he so often does it was their greatest ever player Robert Lewandowski who rallied his troops to the brink of a great escape.

While his nation couldn't quite complete the comeback, Lewandowski left everything on that pitch and his second-half showing will live long in the memory.

After squandering a glorious chance in the first half the Bayern Munich man dusted himself down and lead by example in the second half with two goals, the first a beautiful strike that is one of the finest in the competition so far. It really is a crying shame that this is the end of the road in this year's tournament for Lewandowski, but he can bow out knowing he did everything he could for his nation.

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