Poland opened their UEFA European Under 17 Championship campaign with a 1-0 victory over Belgium.
Poland came into the tournament with a perfect elite round record but were made to work very hard by the seemingly tireless Belgians.
Tuur Dierckx was Belgium’s biggest threat throughout the game and could have sent them into the lead on numerous occasions. This ended up to be Belgium’s downfall as Mariusz Stepinski scored 15 minutes from time to give Poland all three points.
Pieter Gerkens and Deni Milosevic in the Belgian midfield seemed unstoppable at times and threatened regularly but Oskar Pogorzelec in goal kept both of them quiet throughout.
When Rudol and Adrian Cierpka went close to breaking the deadlock in the first ten minutes of the second period, it seemed the Poland half-time team talk must have had the desired effect. It was Patrick Klinkenberg’s side, however, who again created the better chances. Joren Dehond headed just wide and Dierckx was then denied by Pogorzelec after unleashing a wicked shot from the edge of the area.
In Stępiński, though, Poland could call upon a proven goalscorer. The No9 was fortunate to be given the opportunity after Dariusz Formella pounced on Pirard’s lax pass out of defence, but he showed great composure to control, steady himself and finish once in sight of goal.