Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips walks tightrope after bizarre caution as Poland hold England, Whites pair frustrated elsewhere

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips successfully walked a yellow card tightrope but England conceded late on to draw 1-1 in their World Cup Qualifying game in Poland.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:12 pm
TIGHTROPE WALKER - Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips picked up a harsh early booking in England's 1-1 draw in Poland. Pic: Getty

The Whites midfielder was unfortunate to earn a seventh minute caution that left him in a precarious position for the remainder of the World Cup Qualifying game, but judged the required level of physicality to perfection in another solid international display.

Yet having helped the Three Lions to maintain control of the game after Harry Kane's second-half opener, Phillips and the visitors were unable to see the result home, robbed of victory and their 100 per cent record in Group I by Sebastian Szymański's stoppage-time leveller.

]England were frustrated by a number of Daniel Siebert's first half decisions but his interpretation of Phillips' attempt to control the ball and turn away from a challenge was one of the stranger moments of officiating in Warsaw. Siebert decided Phillips had intentionally trodden on Tymoteusz Puchacz and produced a yellow card.

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The visitors were frustrated by the Polish defense, too, in the first half. For all their time on the ball England created little, Harry Kane's wayward header from a dangerous Raheem Sterling cross about the height of it.

Phillips' early caution appeared to be in his mind as he struggled to get his body in the way of two Poland attackers in quick succession around the half hour mark, Robert Lewandowski almost profiting as he stretched to try and flick the ball over Jordan Pickford.

Leeds' academy graduate Phillips remained heavily involved in the action, picking off a pass expertly in the middle of the pitch only to opt for a pass to Sterling when Kane was running clean through.

The half ended with the hosts on top, but the action didn't cease on the whistle, Kamil Glik and Harry Maguire picking up bookings for their part in a coming together that drew a crowd of players.

England were quickly on the attack after the break, Jack Grealish playing a teasing ball right across the face of goal that drifted just past the far post.

Phillips then tried his luck from distance with an effort that was easily saved by Wojciech Szczęsny

Southgate's men controlled the majority of what was in truth a dull start to the second half, Poland's only real threat a long-range shot from Lewandowski that failed to trouble Pickford.

Seconds later Kane set his sights from a similar distance and produced a stunning shot that found the net to give England their breakthrough.

Phillips continued to make important tackles and interceptions and got on the ball to good effect to keep England in charge and protect their lead.

But as time ticked away, the hosts grew in urgency and influence. There was a scare for Pickford when his attempted clearance cannoned straight into the pressing Karol Świderski, the ball bouncing back behind the England keeper and goalwards before he recovered to gather.

Lewandowski also had another effort off target as the game approached stoppage time, with Poland in the ascendancy.

And with a minute of the added four played, Kyle Walker was easily beaten by Jakub Moder, Phillips blocked a shot and then couldn't recover in time to stop Lewandowski from floating a cross to the back post where Szymański rose to crash home a headed equaliser.

A point keeps England top of the group with 16 points from six games, four clear of second-placed Albania.

Elsewhere in World Cup Qualifying, Leeds pair Dan James and Tyler Roberts formed part of the Wales attack in their frustrating 0-0 home draw with Estonia. James shot wide from an early chance and Roberts was denied having run through the Estonia defence just after the hour.

Former Leeds goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell saved a penalty in a 0-0 draw for Northern Ireland at home to Switzerland, with current Whites youngster Alfie McCalmont on the bench.