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Bundesliga

Poland 2-0 Sweden

Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski sent Poland to a 2-0 playoff victory over Sweden, sealing World Cup qualification.

Bayern Munich star Lewandowski beat Robin Olsen from the penalty spot before Zielinksi produced a composed finish to secure the hosts’ spot in Qatar as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hopes of appearing at what would indeed have been a final World Cup were dashed.

Sweden offered promise in the first half. Emil Forsberg placed an early shot too close to Wojciech Szczesny and Jan Bednarek blocked Dejan Kulusevski’s effort.

Poland managed only one attempt on target during a tame first-half performance. Still, it needed just four minutes to hit the front after the break, Lewandowski rolling home from 12 yards after Jesper Karlstrom clumsily felled Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Szczesny made a stunning close-range save to deny Forsberg again, but Zielinski wrapped up the win.

When he robbed Marcus Danielson and slotted in after 72 minutes, sparking wild scenes of celebration in Chorzow.

Ibrahimovic came on with 11 minutes remaining but only had three touches as Sweden missed out on a World Cup for the third time out of the last four tournaments.

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Lewandowski told TVP Sport:

“It was a special match; we knew what we were playing for. It is known that this situation around was an additional burden, but in our stadium, it was easier.

“After the goal, it was clear that the Swedes had a desire. We played well defensively. There is potential to create even more situations, but let’s appreciate this qualification and mentally prepare for the World Cup.

“It was one of the heaviest penalties of my life. I was aware of the pressure. I wanted to focus on the execution, but I knew what the game was about.

“There was great euphoria after the penalty because I knew it would be a key step [towards qualification]. Then, [Zielinski] scored a goal, and it worked out.”

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