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Kane keeps up extraordinary record, but England lose perfection in Poland

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Harry Kane did something he had only ever done once before in an England shirt, but his side were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Poland.

In their final World Cup qualifier of the current international break, the Three Lions lost their perfect record at the sixth hurdle. This game was the toughest challenge of the three they have encountered over the past few days. Even though it seemed they were on course to win, it wasn’t to be.

Gareth Southgate changed his entire starting lineup from the team that beat Andorra over the weekend. He reverted to the same XI that faced Hungary in the first fixture of this international break.

It was a competitive battle from the beginning, with Kalvin Phillips picking up a yellow card within eight minutes.

There were a couple of searching crosses from either side, but both teams were having to be patient for clearcut opportunities. For example, when the ball fell to Mason Mount in a crowded box, the Chelsea midfielder could only shoot off target.

Raheem Sterling created a decent chance with a sharp movement and cross, but Kane could not direct his header towards goal.

The game was billed as a battle of arguably the two best strikers in the world in Kane and Robert Lewandowski. Poland’s talisman nearly got an opening of his own when stretching to reach an aerial through ball from Karol Linetty, but the angle was too tight.

There was some concern for John Stones when he went down with an injury, but he was able to return to the field.

Tensions still high, there was some commotion between the two groups of players as the half-time whistle blew. Both Harry Maguire and Kamil Glik received yellow cards after the melee.

England began the second half with intent, fashioning a few early chances. Jack Grealish dragged one across the face of goal from a tight angle, for example.

Another chance came when Luke Shaw whipped in a free kick, which Maguire flicked on towards the goalline for Sterling to stretch for. But the attacker was offside as his teammate’s header hit the post.

Harry Kane gives England lead

With 20 minutes remaining, neither side were yet to find the breakthrough. Lewandowski tried his luck with a shot along the ground from outside the box, but it had run out of power by the time it reached Jordan Pickford.

Opposite number Kane, on the other hand, found the back of the net with his next effort, also from outside the box.

From a seemingly innocuous position, the striker let fly with a swerving, knuckleball-style strike that flew beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

It marked the 15th consecutive World Cup or European Championship qualifier in which Kane has scored. In addition, it was just the second of his 41 international goals to have come from outside the box.

While some raised questions of Szczesny for England’s goal, Pickford also came under scrutiny when sending a clearance straight into an onrushing Polish attacker. However, he managed to recover just in time.

The onus was on Lewandowski to find an equaliser as the end of regulation time approached. He went his closest yet with a curling effort, but it was off target.

Instead, the Bayern Munich frontman was the provider of Poland’s goal. He sent a cross in for Damian Szymanski, who headed in his first international goal in injury time.

It was what the hosts deserved for their pressure in the second half and although England remain in control of the group, the late twist has thrown things open again – especially the race for second place.





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