Preview: Poland vs. Hungary

Preview: Poland vs. Hungary

Surely consigned to a second-placed finish in World Cup 2022 Qualifying Group I, Poland welcome Hungary to Warsaw for their final game of the group on Monday.

The hosts sit three points behind England heading into the final matchday, while Marco Rossi’s men are simply playing for pride this week.

With Ricard Fernandez’s red card inside the first minute ensuring that Poland would have a man advantage for almost the entire game against Albania, Paulo Sousa’s men needed no second invitation to run riot against the already-eliminated minnows.

Robert Lewandowski and Kamil Jozwiak both struck before Joan Cervos’s free kick made things interesting, but Poland swiftly hit back through Arkadiusz Milik before Lewandowski’s second of the game and eighth of qualification saw Sousa’s men ease to a 4-1 win on Friday.

In doing so, Poland kept their slim hopes of top spot alive and remain three points adrift of England with one game remaining, but with the Three Lions facing San Marino on the final day, Sousa’s men will surely have to be content with a second-placed finish and a spot in the playoffs.

The White and Reds will therefore have to jump through some more hoops to make the World Cup Finals for the second time running after their group-stage finish in 2018, but their record of 29 goals scored in nine Group I games will certainly stand them in good stead.

Poland prepare to host Hungary having won their last three World Cup qualifying games on the spin and boasting 16 points from the last 18 on offer in Group I, while their opponents are simply aiming to restore a sense of pride this week.

Despite putting four past minnows San Marino courtesy of strikes from Dominik Szoboszlai (2), Daniel Gazdag and Balint Vecsei, Hungary’s fate has been sealed in Group I, as the Euro 2020 contestants prepare to try again in four years’ time.

Marco Rossi’s side currently sit fourth in the rankings and can no longer pip Poland to second spot and a place in the playoffs, but they only sit one point behind third-placed Albania and can leapfrog their counterparts with a positive result if Andorra spring a surprise against Edoardo Reja’s side.

Victory over San Marino represents only Hungary’s second win from their last 10 in all competitions and their last six games of World Cup 2022 qualifying, but they have taken a respectable seven points from 12 away from home in Group I so far as they endeavour to end on a strong note.

Hungary and Poland played out an enthralling 3-3 draw during their encounter at the Puskas Arena on the opening day back in March, but the visitors have won just one of their last nine battles with the White and Reds, which came courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline in a 2007 friendly.

Poland World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
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Hungary World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
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We say: Poland 3-1 Hungary
Poland will be aware that their chances of pipping England to top spot are virtually non-existent on Monday, but Sousa’s Lewandowski-inspired side can keep their strong streak against Hungary going with a goal-laden showing.

The visitors are not prepared to go out with a whimper and have posted some respectable results on the road in Group I, but attempting to get one over an in-form Poland will be a step too far.

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