An emotional Robert Lewandowski says he knew time was running out to achieve his dream of scoring in a World Cup final, after scoring Poland win 2-0 against Saudi Arabia Saturday.
The Barcelona striker, 34, ended a run of four World Cup matches without being on the scoresheet by scoring Poland’s decisive second goal at the Education City stadium.
Visibly moved, Lewandowski held his head in his hands and pointed at the sky as his jubilant teammates surrounded him.
“I am aware that this may be my last World Cup,” Lewandowski said afterwards. “Already during the anthem, while singing the national anthem, I felt the emotions inside me.
“I wanted to be remembered not only for playing in the World Cup, but also for scoring goals there. I always fought for a goal at the World Cup and today, I succeeded.”
Failing to score in all three of Poland’s games at the tournament in Russia four years ago, Lewandowski squandered a golden opportunity to smash his World Cup duck against Mexico on Tuesday when his penalty in second half time was saved by Guillermo Ochoa.
That agonizing wait looked set to continue against Saudi Arabia after he was denied by the woodwork 25 minutes from time, but he was not mistaken when Abdulelah Al Malki’s heavy touch left him with the only goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais to beat.
“The good of the national team is the most important thing,” continued Lewandowski. “But there are always a few percentage points behind the lead [that want you to] enter the history books yourself.
“I know how hard I fought – and how hard we fought – for the goal and the win.”
After providing the assist for Piotr Zielinski’s opener, Lewandowski is the first Polish player to score and assist in a World Cup game since Janusz Kupcewicz in 1982.
Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side need just one point in their final group game against Argentina to secure first place in the Round of 16 since 1986, when they were beaten in the Round of 16. final by Brazil.