The U.S. National Team beat Poland 3-0 in Krakow, which showed that the Americans can beat a good team on European soil. Europe has been an Achilles Heel in recent years, as since 1998, their last 3-0 victory over Austria, they are 4-14-3. It is interesting that of the 4 games the Americans have won they have beat Poland 3 times. This was only a friendly game, but one that the Americans can be proud of, as it was not a meaningless game as Poland, as well as all the other European teams, played their best lineups in order to get ready for the 2008 European Championships that will be held in June.
Landon Donovan set up the first couple of goals in the game. In the 12th minute Donovan’s sharp free kick was headed in by Carlos Bocanegra. Bocanegra slipped past his defender and put so much pace on the ball that it was already in the back of the net before the Polish goalkeeper could even react. In the 35th minute Donovan, making his 99th appearance for the national team, sent a corner to Oguchi Onyewu, who buried his shot to give the Americans a 2-0 lead. It was the second straight game that Oguchi Onyewu found the back of the net. In the 73rd minute Eddie Lewis fired a left footed free kick that the Polish goalie lost sight of, as it found the twine giving the Americans a 3-0 lead.
The Americans played great defense and controlled the possession for the entire game. Poland’ best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the 56th minute when Radoslaw Matusiak worked his way through several American defenders and fired a scorching shot on goal, but U.S. keeper Tim Howard punched the ball over the crossbar.
The outcome was a disappointment for the home team, as Poland plays in a tough group in the Euro Championships. They are in a group with Austria (the home team), Germany, and Croatia. Germany is ranked 5th in FIFA rankings, while Croatia is 12th but playing some of the best soccer in Europe. Germany beat Switzerland last night 4-0 and Croatia drew 1-1 with Scotland.
In other big games of the evening, as there were many friendlies, Spain beat England 1-0, Ukraine beat Serbia 2-0, Argentina beat Egypt 2-0, Holland came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Austria 4-3, Greece upset Portugal away 2-1, Brazil beat Sweden 1-0, Mexico beat Ghana 2-1 in England, and Spain beat World Cup Champions Italy 1-0.