Three Lions prepare for Poland who they have faced in seven previous qualifying campaigns
England v Poland
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
8pm, Tuesday 15 October 2013
Buy the official matchday programme online
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Whenever the draw is made for World Cup or European Championship qualification, it seems almost inevitable that England will be paired with Poland.
Indeed, the two nations have been sparring partners in five previous World Cup qualifying campaigns, once at the World Cup Finals, and in two European Championship qualifying groups.
The significance of Tuesday’s encounter cannot be understated, and it inevitably draws comparisons with the most famous – or infamous if you are an England fan – meeting between the sides in October 1973 when England needed to beat Poland to reach the World Cup finals in West Germany.
The nation’s hopes had already taken a dent, losing 2-0 in Poland that summer, but many pundits predicted an England win at Wembley.
Brian Clough branded Polish keeper Jan Tomaszewski a ‘circus clown in gloves’ in the build-up, yet the keeper – struggling with a hand injury – kept Alf Ramsey’s side at bay with a string of superlative, and sometimes fortuitous, saves.
“England were favourites, no doubt,” said Tomaszewski. “Prior to that match, we beat Wales 3-0 and they hammered Austria 7-0 in a friendly.
"Austria were a similar level to us. They were debating in England whether they would win by seven.”
A 1-1 draw saw the Poles through; they would finish third in the Finals.
He added: “We were the happiest men on earth,” says Tomaszewski. “We flew to London as an ugly duckling and returned as a beautiful swan.”
Given the rich history between the sides, who would bet against the final Group H qualier at Wembley etching another place in the history books?
Watch some of the best bits of previous England v Poland matches in the FATV player below
The story of that game in 1973 features in the official England v Poland match programme. You can also read interviews with Jack Wilshere, Rickie Lambert, Saido Berahino, Artur Boruc and England's assistant manager Ray Lewington.