A team of eleven Polish amateurs on Wednesday night (17 Oct.) made soccer history by eliminating the highly-professional England eleven from the World Cup.
A team of eleven Polish amateurs on Wednesday night (17 Oct.) made soccer history by eliminating the highly-professional England eleven from the World Cup. Poland came to Wembley Stadium in London needing only a draw to qualify for the finals in Munich next year: England needed a win to get through. Nevertheless, on their home ground, England were strongly fancied.
Manager Sir Alf Ramsey fielded the same team that thrashed Austria 7-0 only weeks ago, and the goals were expected to flow again.
But Poland's defence held out against a lively England attack throughout the first half and there was no score at the interval.
Less than ten minutes after the two trams re-emerged from the dressing rooms, the visitors swept into the lead with a shock goal. England had over-extended themselves in attack and when Norman Hunter missed a tackle on Grzegorz Lato, the speedy Polish winger ran down the line and crossed for his number 10 Jan Domarski to shoot the ball beneath Peter Shilton's diving body. Poland were one-up in the 57th minute.
Seven minutes later, England were awarded a penalty for Polish obstruction in their box. Allan Clarke put in the equaliser: one-all. But the home side, despite loud encouragement from the 100,000 crowd, were unable to put in another goal. For this, Poland had much to thank their goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski who saved them time and time again. Ramsey said: "I have never seen a better performance at Wembley from a visiting goalkeeper." England kept on the pressure until the last minute, but were twice lucky not to let Poland win when their forwards broke away. Poland, incidentally, were playing without their top striker Wlodek Lubanski, who has been injured since the first World Cup tie with England, which the Poles won 2-0. The final scoreline at Wembley: England I - Poland I, and England are at of the World Cup finals for the first time since 1950.
SYNOPSIS: In the crucial World Cup tie at Wembley on Wednesday, England, playing in the white shirts and black shorts from right to left, had to beat Poland to qualify for the finals of the tournament. But the first half produced no goals.
And when the two teams came out after the interval, England began to put a little too much into attack. The defence was left threadbare, and when Norman Hunter missed a tackle on Grzegorz Lato, the speedy Polish winger stormed ahead down the line. He crossed in a good pass to number ten Jan Domarski, who made no mistake in shooting low and beating England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Against all expectations, Poland had gone into the lead, and the home team were up against a real fight for survival in the Cup.
England stormed right back into attack, but the packed Polish defence left the forwards few scoring chances. The build-up was good, but it lacked finishing power. This shot was way over the bar.
But the crowd of one hundred thousand was brought to its feet in the sixty-fourth minute, when England were awarded a penalty for obstruction in the Polish box. Allan Clarke put his shot safely into the top of the net to equalise.
But though back on even keel, the home side needed more than this to reach the Munich finals. But a one-all draw would see Poland through instead.
England continued to attack relentlessly but were thwarted by a strong Polish defence and in particular by some brilliant saves by goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski. England Manager Sir Alf Ramsey said it was the best performance he had ever seen by a visiting goalkeeper at Wembley. It was Clarke who came nearest to beating him, but the Pole here smothered a low drive and helped Poland to create soccer history by qualifying in England's place for the Munich finals.