Sunday 08 October 2017, 19:01

Poland make World Cup return

  • Poland secure qualification to next year’s World Cup 

  • Last reached global final at Germany 2006  

  • Robert Lewandowski finishes World Cup qualifying campaign with 16 goals

Poland became the latest team to book their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Russia after securing Group E’s top spot on the final day. A 4-2 victory against Montenegro meant second-placed Denmark were unable to catch the section leaders.

Krzysztof Maczynksi gave Adam Nawalka’s side the perfect start in Warsaw after finding the bottom corner on six minutes, before Kamil Grosicki, after receiving the ball from Robert Lewandowski inside the area, doubled the advantage just 10 minutes later.

The hosts suffered a scare, however, when Montenegro scored twice in quick succession to level proceedings. Moments after coming on as a substitute Stefan Mugosa found the net, before Zarko Tomasevic grabbed an 83rd-minute equaliser for the visitors.

Though Poland only needed a draw to cement their Russia 2018 place, the nerves of the fans in Warsaw were eased when Lewandowski put his side back in front on 85 minutes, before Filip Stojkovic's own-goal moments later got Poland's party back on track.

It has been a campaign to remember for prolific frontman Lewandowski, who has bagged a staggering 16 goals on the road to Russia. The Poland skipper has also become his country’s top goalscorer during these preliminaries, surpassing Wlodzimierz Lubanski’s previous record of 48.

Russia 2018 will mark Poland’s eighth global finals. West Germany 1974 and Spain 1982 number among their most memorable World Cup campaigns, with third-place finishes secured on both occasions.

Adam Nawalka’s side join hosts Russia along with fellow European sides Belgium, Germany and England in booking their World Cup ticket. Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Costa Rica have also secured their berths at next year’s global finals.