Czesław Michniewicz put the Poland side in a 4-1-4-1 defensive formation, seemingly looking to contain Mexico in their opener in Doha, with only an unconverted Robert Lewandowski penalty kicking in. the heart in a dull stalemate 0:0.
It was a cautious 20-minute opener, with neither team willing to commit many men in attacks for fear of being caught on the counterattack.
The first chance of the match came for Mexico when Vega jumped Cash at the far post and headed towards Wojciech Szczęsny, the ball bounced narrowly past the post.
The Mexicans took courage to carve out this half chance and began to dictate procedure, pinning the Poles in their own half until the break.
It wasn’t until half-time that a keeper was forced into a save when Jorge Sanchez fired a shot from a tight angle directly at Szczęsny, who tipped over.
The match temporarily came to life when Poland were awarded a penalty in the 55th minute. The referee ruled that Lewandowski had been taken out in the penalty area. The number nine got up to take the free-kick but his shot was rather docile and at a height favorable to Ochoa’s left and the Mexican keeper pushed it away.
As was widely discussed before Lewandowski sought his first World Cup goal and he looked bitterly disappointed not to have done so here, having spent much of the game isolated in front of him.
In the end, neither side could say they really deserved to take three points and given the hugely surprising result of the previous group game – Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2:1 – the match draw of this match leaves the group particularly open.
The feeling that Poland would be able to comfortably take on the Saudis has changed, but with Poland facing Argentina in their last match, they will almost certainly have to beat the Middle Easterners to make it out of the group.
Poland face Saudi Arabia on Saturday and while coach Michniewicz’s safety-first strategy in the opener is understandable, he will need to be a little more adventurous to break down a stubborn-looking Saudi side.
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