Robert Lewandowski broke his World Cup duck on Saturday and explained his emotional celebration was due to the possibility of this being his last finals.
This is only Lewandowski’s second World Cup with Poland, but he is now 34 years old and did not score a single goal at Russia 2018.
That barren run continued in the opening match against Mexico, in which the Barcelona forward saw a penalty saved.
But Lewandowski assisted Piotr Zielinski’s strike against Saudi Arabia and grabbed the second himself in a vital 2-0 win to move Poland top of Group C.
The former Bayern Munich man was clearly overcome with emotion as he embraced his team-mates.
“The older I get, the more emotional I get,” Lewandowski said. “I’m aware when it comes to the World Cup, it might be my last World Cup.”
He added: “When you play for the national squad, you have to focus on the results, but some per cent of my identity also wanted me to have good statistics.
“I always wanted to score at the World Cup, and this dream came true.”
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said of Lewandowski’s emotion: “I was not surprised, because I know how deeply he lived the last match. The whole team supported him a lot.
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL! ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI GETS HIS FIRST CAREER WORLD CUP GOAL!!!!! #FIFAWorldCup
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 26, 2022
“We are very happy together with him, just as we were very sad together with him after the penalty.”
Michniewicz added “one player will not win the match alone”, but that was an assessment Herve Renard disagreed with, as the Saudi Arabia coach attributed Poland’s victory to Wojciech Szczesny.
A penalty save from Salem Al Dawsari at 1-0 kept Poland in front in a game Saudi Arabia controlled for long periods.
Despite the result, Renard is not giving up hope, saying: “We are still alive, so we’ll play until the last second of our World Cup. If that’s next time or another time, we won’t give up.”
Saudi Arabia are second in the pool, a point behind Poland, ahead of Argentina playing Mexico later on Saturday.
“I hope [the Saudi fans] won’t give up,” Renard said. “When you are fans, you need to support your team when it’s a fantastic day. But you also need to support your team to make history in the third game. I would like to see one more time a green stadium.”