Poland victorious over Belgium in the opening game of the Euro Under-21 Championships


The first game of the Under 21’s European Championship saw Belgium take on Poland at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore.

In the first five minutes both teams looked sharp with both trying to have shots on goal with all efforts blocked by the defenders on either teams.

Issac Mbenza and Dodi Lukebakio looked dangerous in the opening 15 minutes with both attempting crosses into the Poland penalty area.

In the 13th minute a wonderful delivery from Konrad Michalik saw David Kownacki narrowly miss the ball, failing to put the ball in the back of the net.

Just a minute later, Belgium went up the other end, with Orel Mangala hitting the post from about 30 yards out. Belgium kept the pressure on with a Siebe Schrijvers shot being saved.

In the 16th minute Belgium made it 1-0 with Mbenza’s cross being finished lovely by Aaron Leya.

Belgium kept attacking and not looking to stop at 1-0 with the Belgians controlling the game inside Poland’s half for most of the opening 20 minutes.

In the 21st minute, Mbenza made a beautiful run down the wing and cut inside to pass the ball into Schrijvers’ feet who skipped passed the Polish centre backs and tried chipping his shot but went wide of the goal.

A rare spell of possession saw Poland move into Belgium’s half but nobody was able to meet Michalik’s cross.

A lovely solo run in the 26th minute saw Szymon Zurkowski slot the ball into the bottom corner from about 20 yards out. A wonderful goal that made the score level at 1-1.

The first half an hour saw Belgium dominate possession with the split being 61%- 39% in Belgium’s favour.

In the 33rd minute, great passing play between Schrijvers and Lukebakio saw the latter’s shot go narrowly wide.

With two minutes left in the half, Poland started a great attack with defender Krystian Bielik starting the move which saw a lovely cross go into the path of striker Kownacki who struck the ball cleanly but it was blocked by the Belgian defenders.

Going into half-time the score stayed level at 1-1 with Belgium being the more dominant side and Poland allowing the Belgian’s to attack them with the Polish counter attacking effectively.

Both sides unchanged came out for the second-half of the game.

The opening five minutes of the second-half saw the game dominated by the Belgians the same as the first-half.

In the 52nd minute, Poland went 2-1 up. A fantastic delivery from Filip Jagiello cross saw Bielik head the ball down and into the back of the net to give Poland the advantage and the lead.

The next five minutes saw Belgium gain more of an advantage in attack with the Belgian team passing the ball inside the Polish half and Schrijvers having a shot which was blocked by Bielik.

In the 60th minute, a cross from Mbenza was cleared into the path of Schrijvers who tried to curl the ball into the top corner but narrowly missed the target.

A few seconds later, Kamil Pestka passed the ball into the path of Szymanski who saw his attempted cross into box blocked by Belgian defender Dion Cools.

In the 67th minute, a lovely cross-field pass from Bielik to Zurkowski saw the latters cross blocked in an attempt to find Kownacki.

In the 74th minute, Belgium went up the pitch into Poland’s half for the first time in a long time with Heynen took the shot that went well over the bar.

Yet again Belgium stayed on the front foot with Mbenza’s cross met by Cools who shot it wide.

Szymanski received a delightful pass from Zurkowski inside the box and smashds it into the roof of the net to make the score 3-1 for Poland.

Cools then met Lukebakio’s corner and headed it into the back of the net and reduced the deficit to 3-2.

A fantastic shot from Mbenza then forced young shot-stopper Kamil Grabara to make a phenomenal save.

Poland managed to hold on to claim the opening three points of the tournament. A brilliant opening to the Under- 21 European Championships.



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