Poland and England will finally get their World Cup qualifier underway on Wednesday after heavy rain led to the match being postponed on Tuesday with a waterlogged pitch. Thankfully for all concerned, the roof at Warsaw’s National Stadium is set to be closed, meaning that there will be no repeat of the previous day’s farcical scenes.
While FIFA rules permits both managers to make changes to the lineups that were announced on Tuesday, England boss Roy Hodgson has insisted he will not be making any alterations to his team.
That means that there will be a full six changes from the side that cruised past San Marino on Friday. Captain Steven Gerrard and right-back Glen Johnson will both start having completed their suspensions. Three players on the verge of picking up suspensions—Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermain Defoe—also return. Ashley Cole also comes back into the lineup in place of the in-form Leighton Baines.
Poland coach Waldemar Fornalik is also unlikely to make changes to his previously announced team. Influential captain Jakub Blaszczykowski has already been ruled out with an ankle injury suffered with Borussia Dortmund. His absence means that there is likely to be even greater reliance on Blaszczykowski’s Dortmund teammate Robert Lewandowski. The striker has been linked to several Premier League clubs, most prominently Manchester United, and there are certain to be plenty of eyes trained on him throughout.
Arsenal goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski are injured, meaning that Przemyslaw Tyton, who usurped Szczesny during Euro 2012, will again be deployed.
D: Piszczek, Glik, Wasilewski, Wawrzyniak
M: Mierzejewski, Obraniak, Grosicki
England (confirmed)G: Hart
D: Johnson, Jagielka, Lescott, Cole
M: Milner, Carrick, Gerrard, Cleverley
F: Rooney, Defoe
Prediction: Poland have not been in the best of form of late and the loss of Blaszczykowski’s creativity from the right is a significant one for the home side. However, Hodgson’s naturally cautious approach may see England settle for a draw in what may well be an underwhelming encounter.
Poland 0-0 England
Where to watch: The 2014 World Cup qualifier is scheduled to kick-off at 11 a.m. ET. A live stream will be available on ESPN3.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.