Derby County’s Krystian Bielik helped Poland to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday night.
Bielik played the full 90 minutes as Poland defeated Sweden 2-0 on home turf in a winner-takes-all Play-Off Qualifier to book their spot at the tournament in the Middle East later this year.
Performing in the holding midfield position, Bielik impressed as second half goals from Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski fired Poland to victory.
The 24-year-old’s appearance was his fifth for his country and only his second since returning from two successive anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the last two seasons.
His second lay-off forced him to sit out the COVID-19 delayed 2020 UEFA European Championships last summer, prior to returning to action midway through the current campaign, so the upcoming World Cup will be his first major tournament with the senior group.
Elsewhere on the international stage on Tuesday, Academy graduates Jason Knight and Lee Buchanan were substitutes for the Republic of Ireland and England Under-21s respectively.
Midfielder Knight was an 82nd minute substitute for the Irish in a 1-0 friendly win against Lithuania in Dublin, while defender Buchanan didn’t get any match action as England’s youngsters ran out 3-0 winners in Albania in their latest European Under-21 Championship Qualifier.
Striker Luke Plange also picked up his second England Under-20 cap as he came off the bench late on in their 3-1 Elite League success against Germany at Colchester United’s JobServe Community Stadium.