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England announce title credentials with hard-fought Poland win

Harry Maguire scored the winner as England beat Poland 2-1.
Harry Maguire scored the winner as England beat Poland 2-1.
ANALYST
Modified 01 Apr 2021
Feature

England are exuding confidence at the moment. The Three Lions have built on their impressive run in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals.

England will look to fare better at the Euros, though. While France, Portugal and Belgium are the favourites to win the tournament, the Three Lions are not too far behind.

Gareth Southgate's team impressively won all three games during the international break. They are now atop Group I in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying group after beating San Marino, Albania and Poland.

While the first two games were a walk in the park, the Poland match provided England a true test of their quality and character. Gareth Southgate’s side had to dig deep to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win.


Harry Maguire proves his worth for England

England’s scorers in the game were Harry Kane and Harry Maguire, with Jakub Moder scoring Poland’s equaliser. Kane’s place in the team has never been in doubt, but Maguire has had a lot to prove.

A few months ago, the Manchester United defender endured a nightmare period after being arrested in Greece while on holiday. He was then sent off against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League, unwelcome incidents that put his international career in jeopardy.

However, Maguire has recovered superbly at both club and international level. He has worked his way back into Southgate’s plans and continues to prove why he is England’s best centre-back.

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When the going got tough on Wednesday against Poland, Maguire stepped up to score a late winner to ensure England kept their perfect record intact in the ongoing FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

England brimming with an embarrassment of riches

There’s no doubt England look like a better team than they were before. The squad is better, more mature and hungrier for success.

For the first time in a long time, the Three Lions have at least three talented players for every position in the team. The buck, however, stops with Southgate, who has the unenviable task of selecting only 23 players for the Euros.

“There's not a lot over the last 10 days, good and bad, that's surprised me,” the England boss said after the win over Poland, as quoted by Sky Sports. That shows we know our players, know where we're at, know improvement is needed to be a top, top team, but today was a good test for us in terms of the quality of our opponent and also our resilience."

This England squad already looks better than the one that reached the semi-finals in the 2018 World Cup. Southgate must now continue his good work and look to go all the way at the Euros.

Published 01 Apr 2021, 23:27 IST
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