The Poland-Sweden match was the final point of the national team’s window for both countries. The underdog hosts of the game in Łódź made a good impression yet lost to the Olympic silver medalists 2:4.
Just before the match, the announcement was made that Weronika Zawistowska, has signed a contract with Bayern Munich, using the free transfer option and being in force since July. Zawistowska, who hit the headlines of Polish football with a test in Munich in January, after a shine in the EURO 2021 qualification games against Czechs, is to go on loan during the first season of the three-year contract in Bavaria.
That was the first game of the Polish National Team led temporarily by the female coach – Nina Patalon, who is the head coach for Poland U19, took that role after Miłosz Stępiński left the bench, following the unsuccessful EURO 2021 qualification campaign. Patalon surprised the fans with Natalia Padilla-Bidas in the starting roster – just an 18-year-old, who transferred from Malaga to Servette FC last summer.
The Swedish team, which played the game three days after a 1-1 against the USA in Stockholm, made an expectable, yet a huge rotation comparing to the previous match – with a totally different starting 11, as the players are fighting for Peter Gerhardsson’s attention and selection for the Olympic squad for Tokyo 2020 Games this summer.
The game started with quite a lot of corners within the first 15 minutes from both sides, none of them however finished with a goal. Both were also the chance for a counter-attack – the strong power of both teams known from defensive play. The best chance in that part of the game was in the 10th minute from the Polish team starting with Adrianna Achcińska’s ride and a pass to Padilla-Bidas, whose cross pass to Ewa Pajor opened the chance for a goal to a VfL Wolfsburg star, but the shot was saved by Zećira Mušović, keeping the Swedish goal in this game.
Ten minutes later Sweden had a good chance after a huge mistake of Katarzyna Kiedrzynek, Polish goalie and team captain being under pressure of the Swedish team. The action finished with Achcińska’s save and the corner, well played by the Swedes, but the Illestedt’s shot missed the goal.
Poland took the lead in the 26th minute with Dominika Grabowska’s steal and Gabriela Grzywińska assisting with a long pass to Pajor, who made a long-corner shot, scoring her40th goal for the national team, but first after the injury, that eliminated her from most of the EURO 2021 qualification games.
Sweden was close to equalising within just three minutes, but in the chaos in the area one of the Swedes fouled Kiedrzynek, causing the free-kick for the defending team. However, the Polish lead lasted just ten minutes with Stina Blackstenius getting a pass on the right-wing from Filippa Curmark and with Martyna Wiankowska pressing her to take a decision in the box, she shot on the goal over the goalie, just under the bar.
Blackstenius had a chance to score the second goal in the 40th minute, when left with space she gave a shot but missed the goal by a lot. Instead, it was in the 43rd minute when the left-wing pass from Rebecka Blomqvist found Blackstenius in the centre just in front of the goal and finished with 2-1 score, which eventually became the half-time result, although the Polish team was in attack in the additional minute, the pass from Zofia Buszewska came straight into Mušović’s hands.
Poland started the second half with the second goal of Pajor, who used the miscommunication between Ilestedt and Mušović and sending a goal with a head shot after Buszewska’s centre pass from the right-wing following the in-throw within 16 meters from the Swedish goal.
The Swedes came into the box in the 52nd minute, but Olivia Schough’s pass to Filippa Angeldal was stopped by Małgorzata Mesjasz, Turbine Potsdam defensive midfielder, playing the central defender role in the national team. As the answer, Poland had another corner after an Achcińska’s pass to Pajor, but didn’t succeed with a score.
On the other hand, it was Blackstenius, aiming for a hat-trick after being left with a lot of space by the Polish defence, but the save from Kiedrzynek stopped the Swedish sniper. Another mistake was made by them just three minutes later, with Blomqvist attacking from the right-wing, but having no partner to finish the action after Achcińska slipped in the box.
With the Polish team attacking hardly and looking for another goal, in the 65th minute the counter-attack by Swedes was finished with a missed shot by Johanna Kaneryd, who was one of four substitutes let onto the pitch by Peter Gerhadsson just a while ago.
The Polish team also was trying to use the counter-attacks, but the action of Pajor with Padilla-Bidas in support finished with a lost pace. On the other side, in the 79th minute Blackstenius had one more chance for a hat-trick, but shooting very high above the bar.
Nikola Karczewska, who entered the pitch as the substitute of Pajor, had a chance to give a winning goal in the 83rd minute, but her shot was caught by Mušović. Instead, with Poles defending in a one-down, as Nikol Kaletka got injured, a perfectly executed free-kick by the Swedish team finished with 3-2 goal by Caroline Seger.
The Poles had a chance for an equaliser, but the chaos in front of Mušović’s goal finished with a missed shot. TheSwedes managed to set the final score on 4-2 with Lina Hurtig’s shot bounced from Paulina Dudek’s leg and causing Katarzyna Kiedrzynek to an unsuccessful parade as the ball slowly rolled into the net through her fingers.
With Sweden aiming for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where they are defending the silver from Rio, the Polish team awaits a new head coach with FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualification coming up. The decision of the Polish Football Association’s Executive Board might be taken during their next meeting on 29th April, a day before the draw of the World Cup qualification groups.
Poland: Kiedrzynek (GK)(C), Buszewska (75’), Mesjasz, Dudek, Wiankowska, Padilla-Bidas (80’), Achcińska, Grzywińska (72’), Grabowska, Kamczyk (46’), Pajor (80’)
Substitutes: Palińska (GK), Szperkowska (GK), Zieniewicz, Konat, Dudziak, Rędzia (75’), Jedlińska (80’), Wróblewska (72’), Zdunek, Kozak (87’), Kaletka (46’-87’), Karczewska (80’)
Goals: Pajor – 26’, 48’
Sweden: Mušović (GK), Wik (64’), Ilestedt (C), Kullberg, Rybrink, Aneldal (64’), Bennison, Curmark (64’), Blomqvist(82’), Blackstenius (82’), Schough (63’)
Substitutes: Holmgren (GK), Andersson (64’), Sembrant, Glas, Eriksson, Seger (64’), Rolfö, Kaneryd (64’), Janogy (63’), Hurtig (82’), Asllani, Jakobsson (82’)
Goals: Blackstenius – 37’, 43’ Seger – 86’ Hurtig 90+2’