The final two teams of the 2018 World Cup take the field, with the Robert Lewandowski-led Poland squad taking on Senegal. • Refresh here for live updates and analysis from Russia. • Earlier, Japan beat Colombia, 2-1, in a frantic Group H match. • Here ...
The official scorer has that as an own goal, although the redirection by Cionek was inadvertent.
Andrew Das: Brutal break for Cionek there. He had come back to provide cover for Pazdan, but when Pazdan went down to block the shot, Cionek lost sight of it for a quick second — just long enough for it to hit him in the left leg and wrong-foot Szczesny, who had no chance.
That play started with Niang outmuscling Blaszczykowski at midfield, and the Pole doesn’t look right. He had called the trainer over on the last offside call, and during that brief break before the goal he sat down for some treatment on his right ankle while everyone else grabbed a drink. Worth watching his movements.
37’: Hurts on Both Sides
Players on both sides were treated (including, worryingly for Poland, Lewandowski). Everyone else grabbed some water.
35’: Swing and a Miss
A good cross by Senegal. Diouf swung his head at it hard, but the head found only air.
32’: Senegal Steals, then Poland Steals
Great steal by Mane of Senegal deep in his own territory. He launched into one of his long runs, but was stripped before the offense could rev into gear.
29’: Game Slows to a Crawl
Both teams continue to struggle to put an attack together. There have been a number of bad passes and miscommunications on both sides. Officially both teams have two shots, but nothing has troubled the keepers.
Andrew Das: We’ve entered the stand around and pass the ball back and forth very carefully portion of today’s match.
Let’s hope it’s short.
24’: Lewandowski Misses
Poland again in the box, and Lewandowski executed a turn and shoot. He was marked though, and it went wide.
20’: Poland Mounts a Counter Attack, but Miss
Jacek Grosicki’s diving header went over. Not many sightings yet of the offensive stars, Lewandowski and Mane.
Andrew Das: Senegal has definitely had the better chances early on. Senegal also has had the worse final, decisive touches early on, so their chances have mostly been wasted. But just the suggestion of the speed of Sané and Niang up front has Poland’s back line wary.
19’: Senegal Wastes Opportunity
Sabaly of Senegal with the interception, a nice run and a nice pass. But the recipient, Niang, shanked it.
17’: Poland Deals With Senegal Pressure
Sarr of Senegal took a run amidst several defenders and went down when he reached the penalty box. He appealed, but no call.
13’: Senegal’s Free Kick Goes Wide
Grzegorz Krychowiak of Poland gave it away, and to try to make up for it chased down Niang and brought him down from behind. That’s a yellow card. The free kick was sent wide.
8’: Senegal Attacks First
M’baye Niang shoots, and it is collected by keeper Szczesny of Poland, though it was going across the goal not in it.
Andrew Das: This is a seriously Poland-friendly crowd here today, and they roar to life at even the hint of a chance, or a burst, or anything positive. But Senegal is composed, and tight defensively, and they don’t look overwhelmed at all. They’re playing a very high line defensively, though, and with Robert Lewandowski prowling, that’s always a risk.
5’: Battle of the Midfield
No one’s gotten a shot off in the first five minutes as the teams duel in the midfield. Poland maybe have slightly the best of the play so far.
Poland in white and Senegal in green. Senegal will try to uphold the honor of Africa, which has lost every match at the Cup. Morocco and Egypt were unlucky, and Tunisia hung tough against England. But 0-4 is 0-4.
Senegal’s Starting Lineup
Who to watch: In Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal has one of Europe’s best defenders; in Idrissa Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate, a combative midfield; and in Sadio Mané and Keita Balde, two gifted match-winners.
16. K. N’Diaye
13. A. N’Diaye
Poland’s Starting Lineup
Senegal vs. Poland Top Story Lines
• Group H is the most wide-open in the tournament, with Colombia, Poland, Senegal and Japan all given a puncher’s chance. It could well come down to the last day of the group stage, June 28.
• Africa has fared poorly at the World Cup so far, going 0-4.
• Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich is the world-class striker in the middle for Poland. He had a European-leading 16 goals in 10 games during qualifying.
• Poland isn’t usually thought of as part of Europe’s elite. But it cruised through its qualification group with one loss and one draw in 10 games. Left 5 points behind was Denmark, which already has a win in the Cup.
• Lewandowski is 29, keeper Lukasz Fabianski is 31 and defender Lukasz Piszczek is 32, making Poland a veteran team.
• Youth is served by Piotr Zielinski of Napoli, a 23-year-old midfielder who plays just behind the striker.
• For scoring punch on Senegal, look to Sadio Mane of Liverpool, who had 20 goals this season.
• It is Senegal’s first World Cup since 2002, when they were surprise quarterfinalists. They won a group that included Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and an out-of-sorts South Africa team.
World Cup 2018 (Soccer)