Rio Ferdinand slates Robert Lewandowski after penalty miss costs Poland at World Cup


    Mexico v Poland: Group C - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
    Robert Lewandowski is still waiting for his first ever World Cup goal (Photo: Getty)

    Rio Ferdinand has criticised Robert Lewandowski and Poland after their lacklustre performance in their World Cup opener.

    Poland played out a goalless draw with Mexico at Stadium 974 in Doha, with both sides lacking any real quality in front of goal.

    Extraordinarily, the result means that Saudi Arabia are top of Group C after their shock comeback win over Argentina earlier on Tuesday.

    While Mexico were the better team, it was Poland who had the best opportunity to win after captain Lewandowski won a penalty early in the second-half but failed to convert from the spot, with veteran Guillermo Ochoa denying him with a good save.

    Barcelona star Lewandowski is widely considered to be one of, if not the best strikers in the world, so his penalty miss came as a huge shock and could have huge ramifications for the rest of the tournament.

    But post match, Ferdinand actually claimed to have predicted the miss, telling the BBC: ‘I didn’t fancy him – as much as a great player and scorer he is, there was something in the air.

    ‘He didn’t hit it clean and it was a great save in the end.’

    At half-time, Ferdinand was critical of Poland’s tactics, saying that they weren’t catering to Lewandowski’s strengths as they should have been: ‘He’s had one touch in Mexico’s box, this doesn’t happen with him at club-level.

    ‘He was totally starved of the ball. He’s completed three passes in the first half. He’s having to feed off scraps.

    ‘He’s not used to this. He normally gets good possession and then the team builds up and plays around him. Here they’re not even identifying him.’

    Fellow pundit Pablo Zabaleta was equally damning, adding: ‘If you just keep defending so deep, it leaves Robert Lewandowski isolated up front and he’s not the kind of player who will run in behind.

    ‘They need to come up the field higher and give him better balls.’

    Poland’s next game will be against Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

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