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Page Last Updated 16 October 2013
 
 
Poland
   
Republic of Poland
Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej
Foundation: 1919


 

Colours by Country:

England vs. Poland

The colours worn in games between England and Poland have rarely been contentious, and, on the whole, they have been fairly predictable, despite both countries' preference being for white shirts. They first met in 1966 at Everton, with Poland switching to red shirts (and Bobby Moore scoring a rare international goal). Their shorts remained red and the socks were red and white hoops. We have only ever seen Poland wear combinations of red and white against England, though they did wear a blue kit against Wales in 1973.

Their second meeting was just six days before the start of the 1966 World Cup in England's very last warm-up game. This time it was England that switched to their change kit of red and white, but the biggest surprise was Gordon Banks wearing a blue jersey, instead of the usual goalkeeper's yellow. Blue was usually reserved for meetings against opponents wearing yellow shirts.

1973 was the year of the most famous Anglo-Polish encounters. Drawn together in a World Cup qualifying group with Wales, they met again in Chorzˇw, in the Katowice area of Silesia. England were going through an experimental phase and wore yellow aertex shirts, with Peter Shilton sporting a green aertex goalkeeper's jersey. Poland, meanwhile, had discarded the hoops and appeared in plain white socks, with red tops. It was a match that highlighted the fact that Bobby Moore was nearing the end of his international career. The first goal was deflected in off him and the second came about because he was caught in possession. To add insult to injury, Alan Ball was then sent off.

The return at Wembley, which England had to win to qualify for the following year's tournament in Germany, was, with the possible exception of the US game in 1950, England's most frustrating and disappointing ninety minutes in their history. Wave after wave of attacks failed to break down the Poles (wearing all red for the first time against England). Despite Brian Clough insisting on television that the Polish 'keeper, Jan Tomaszewski was "a clown", he proceeded to stop everything that England could throw at him with a variety of unorthodox saves. An Allan Clarke penalty was not enough and the 1-1 draw left England devastated. The result ultimately led to Sir Alf Ramsey's departure, six months later.

England's Colours Against Poland 1966-1973
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks Gk Venue Shirts Shorts Socks
396 5 January 1966         Goodison Park, Liverpool      
403 5 July 1966         Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
472 6 June 1973         Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
476 17 October 1973         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      

It was to be another sixteen years before England and Poland locked horns again, at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. For England, it was the 'last-chance saloon'. They met in Monterrey, after England had twice failed to score in their earlier group games and they were facing a humiliating early exit from the competition. England were in white and Poland switched to red, but with white shorts for the first time against England. This was the game in which Gary Lineker's goalscoring talents were first revealed to a worldwide audience. His first-half hat-trick left us all wondering why on earth we were worried in the first place. Poland's defeat was still enough to take them through into the last sixteen.

The ghosts of 1973 had been firmly exorcised, but from 1989 onwards, England and Poland were then continually drawn together in successive qualifying groups for World Cups and European Championships. Five times in six successive championships they came out of the hat (or whatever fancy bowls they were using at the time) together. Poland were back in all red at Wembley in 1989 on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline. England returned to Chorzˇw, seven months later, in their red away kit and were reliant on Peter Shilton (in an all-blue kit) to keep a clean sheet as they secured qualification for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Returning from Italy with a creditable fourth placing, England faced Poland again, in the European Championship. This was the first of six successive meetings in which England were not required to change colours at all; the Poles seemingly happy to wear all red on each occasion. The return fixture was switched to a smaller, more intimidating stadium, in Poznań, where England, wearing white in Poland for the first time, needed a point to qualify for 'Euro '92', in Sweden. They were a goal down at half-time, before Gary Lineker again saved them against the Poles with an equalizer thirteen minutes from the end.

England were once again, rescued by a late leveller on their next visit, this time back in Chorzˇw for a World Cup qualifier. Ian Wright came off the bench to fire England level, with only six minutes remaining. This campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, however, despite a morale-boosting 3-0 win at Wembley in the return fixture, at the beginning of the following season.

The next two seasons saw no fixtures between England and Poland, but they could not have been drawn together as England were automatically qualified for 'Euro '96' as hosts. Once this was over, though, Poland were back at Wembley for the next World Cup qualifying campaign. Alan Shearer was the key figure in both of these games as England, once again, established a clear hold over their Polish opponents in all red. After his brace settled the Wembley encounter, he missed a penalty in Chorzˇw, but still managed to get on the scoresheet as England recorded their first victory in Poland since 1966.

Their next meeting was in the following European Championship, as seemingly wild horses couldn't keep them apart when it came to a qualifying draw ("Get a room!" was the cry). Now we saw a subtle change in the colours worn. With Poland back to white shirts, there appeared to be an agreement whereby the home side would change colours. So it was, that a red-shirted England team (the first under Kevin Keegan) got off to a great start on a lovely spring afternoon at Wembley in 1999, with Paul Scholes netting a hat-trick. The return fixture, the following season, was a much more hazardous exercise for England, now back in white, with Poland back in all red. It was their first meeting in Warsaw, in another small stadium designed to intimidate the visitors. England were struggling and needed at least a point to have any chance of reaching the Euro 2000 play-offs. David Batty was sent off in the 84th minute, but England held on for a goalless draw and Poland were unable to take any points from their remaining game to prevent England from progressing.

Two qualifying competitions passed without an Anglo-Polish pairing, but a reunion was soon organized under the guise of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. England emerged victorious from a return visit to Chorzˇw, in which they switched to red shirts, as the away team. Both teams went on to qualify from the group and they finished the campaign by meeting again at Old Trafford, as the new Wembley was still under construction. England were again the victors, with Poland again in all red.

Their next meeting, in 2012, was in Warsaw's new stadium. England wore blue for the first time and they finished the campaign a year later by qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, at Wembley, beating an already eliminated Polish side. The Poles wore red shorts for the 18th time in 19 meetings. Not a terribly exciting fact, but true nonetheless.

England's Colours Against Poland 1986-2012
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks Gk Venue Shirts Shorts Socks
616 11 June 1986             Estadio Universitßrio de Nuevo Leˇn, Monterrey, Mexico      
647 3 June 1989                   Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
650 11 October 1989                   Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
666 17 October 1990             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
679 13 November 1991             Stadion Lecha, Poznań      
695 29 May 1993             Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
700 8 September 1993             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
728 9 October 1996                   Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
734 31 May 1997                   Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
756 27 March 1999             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
761 8 September 1999             Stadion Wojska Polskiego, Warszawa      
820 8 September 2004             Stadion Śląski, Chorzˇw      
833 12 October 2005             Old Trafford, Manchester      
914 17 October 2012             Stadion Narodowy, Kazimierza Gˇrskiego, Warszawa      
925 15 October 2013             The National Stadium, Wembley, London      

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