A late Harry Maguire winner kept England’s perfect start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in tact as the Three Lions beat a Robert Lewandowski-less Poland 2-1 at Wembley in London.

England’s win against Poland made it 3 wins out of 3 as Gareth Southgate’s side started of the World Cup qualifying campaign with their record unblemished.

The Three Lions began their campaign against San Marino the lowest-ranked side in the FIFA rankings and they comfortably beat them 5-0. They followed it up with a 2-0 victory over Albania but faced their toughest test in the group when they faced the Polish.

Poland, however, were missing their star man – Robert Lewandowski. Lewandowski is currently the best striker in the world and plays for German giants Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski’s absence proved vital as Poland failed to capitalise on the chances they had as England held on right at the end to stay ahead of the rest of the pack in Group I of the European qualifiers.

England’s impressive first half saw them earn a deserving lead when Harry Kane scored his 34th international goal from the penalty spot in the 19th minute after Michal Helik fouled Raheem Sterling in the box.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane opened the scoring for England from the penalty spot. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

England were the complete opposite and seemed somewhat pedestrian in the second half as Poland, who were without injured Lewandowski, equalised when a dreadful error by Manchester City‘s John Stones saw him concede possession on the edge of the area that Jakub Moder pounced onto and beat Nick Pope to make it 1-1.

It was the first goal Pope conceded in seven England appearances and Stones’ error may have proved costly but the Man City defender made amends after heading City teammate Phil Foden’s corner into the path of centre-back partner Maguire, who smashed a powerful shot high past Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to give England the victory in the 85th.

The Manchester United captain Maguire proved to be the difference maker in another crucial fixture, which will bring back memories of Russia 2018 when he scored a vital header to send England through to the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup by beating Sweden.

England boss Gareth Southgate said, “We were very good in the first half, we were in control of the game and to concede a goal like we did can hit the team. They [his England side] stuck at it, they recovered their composure and got an important set-play winner.

“John Stones managed to compose himself for the rest of the game and had a part in the winning goal which was important – you can fold in those moments and he didn’t.”

England defender Harry Maguire said, “It is a big win. We are playing to play at a World Cup. We started the game well but in the second half, we didn’t. John [Stones] has been brilliant this year. Defenders make mistakes and when we do, we get scrutinised. He made up for it with a great header at the back post.”