Wales undergo Euro 2024 heartbreak after Poland win dramatic penalty shootout

Wales undergo Euro 2024 heartbreak after Poland win dramatic penalty shootout

As Wojciech Szczesny was ambushed by his Poland teammates, a penalty shootout victory and a spot on the Euro 2024 finals secured, Daniel James was left counting the price of failing to beat the goalkeeper from 12 yards.

A flawless set of penalties from Poland teed up Group D fixtures towards France, Netherlands and Austria this summer time and ensured Wales’s distraught gamers left the pitch glassy-eyed, the dream of reaching a 3rd straight European Championship and a fourth main match in 5 over, ended within the cruellest of circumstances.

Robert Lewandowski set the tone with the primary spot-kick, sending Danny Ward the incorrect means with a staggered run-up, and Krzysztof Piatek fired in Poland’s final, earlier than James’s penalty was repelled.

Earlier than the shootout, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh anthem, sounded over the audio system. Moments earlier, Chris Mepham picked up his second yellow card however left the sector to a hero’s ovation. The Wales supporters sang with elevated vigour and a hoarse stadium announcer pleaded for a optimistic outcome with added desperation.

Rob Web page admitted it will have been silly to not practise penalties. Ben Davies, who led by instance all night, settled Wales’s nerves after Lewandowski scored in entrance of the Crimson Wall within the Canton Stand. Kieffer Moore smacked his penalty in off the underside of the crossbar.

Harry Wilson despatched his down the center, no-nonsense, Neco Williams, ice-cool, dispatched his right into a pocket of the Poland objective. However after James, a substitute, missed, the phrases of Web page’s reverse quantity felt prescient. “Finals and playoffs aren’t performed, they’re gained,” mentioned Michal Probierz, the Poland supervisor who’s but to lose since changing Fernando Santos final 12 months.

It might take Wales some time to recover from this defeat. This was a sport of few possibilities, one which was primed to go the space from the second Poland optimistically took goal at Ward’s objective from kick-off.

Davies noticed a second-half headed objective disallowed for offside and Moore, who teed up Davies, compelled an impressive left-hand save from Szczesny to claw his effort to security. Jakub Piotrowski went shut for Poland with a curling shot from the sting of the field within the tenth minute of additional time, seconds after Wales carved a gap on the different finish.

Davies’s cutback slid between Szczesny and Bartosz Slisz however the ball wouldn’t drop for James. Minutes later, Moore was gifted possession by Piotrowski however dawdled and delayed getting his shot away, permitting the Poland midfielder to make amends.

Poland settled the faster in an event bubble-wrapped in nerves. A hush fell on the stadium as Przemyslaw Frankowski despatched a cross bouncing into the Wales six-yard field, however Karol Swiderski couldn’t get on the tip of it after racing between Mepham and Joe Rodon.

Poland have a good time after their penalty shootout win towards Wales. {Photograph}: Alastair Grant/AP

Ethan Ampadu barrelled into Lewandowski in an try to get a grip on the midfield. Rodon made a panicked intervention to stop Nicola Zalewski from getting a clear shot away after slaloming from left to proper.

Wales grew into the sport, with Wilson moseying into the field unchallenged. Brennan Johnson effortlessly plucked a move out of the sky and Ampadu pinged a candy diagonal move into Williams.

Then, on the verge of half-time, they thought issues had come collectively. Wales labored a throw-in deep into the one indicated extra minute to the again-impressive Williams, whose cross discovered the towering Moore on the again submit.

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Moore cushioned a header into the six-yard field the place Davies, once more captain with Aaron Ramsey solely match sufficient for the bench, calmly steered a header into the pocket of the Poland objective. The Wales dugout erupted into celebration however prematurely, with Davies straying offside past Frankowski.

Web page was adamant that Wales wouldn’t have any sort of inferiority complicated towards a Poland crew boasting a family identify in Lewandowski. “They’re within the playoffs for a cause,” was Web page’s tackle a Poland crew that completed behind Albania and Czech Republic in qualifying. Additionally they have a tremendous goalkeeper in Szczesny and 4 minutes into the second half the 33-year-old beautifully pushed a Moore header to security.

Moore, fouled by Pawel Dawidowicz, earned a free-kick and Williams flighted it in the direction of him. Moore acquired clear contact on the cross and despatched a header spinning in the direction of the highest nook just for Szczesny to intercept.

It was the sort of cease Neville Southall, among the many heroes of yesteryear up within the stands, would have been pleased with. Poland struggled to mute Moore and the striker led Piotrowski into taking a reserving after clipping his heels on midway.

As the tip of regular time loomed, issues acquired tetchy. Wilson twisted and turned down the proper in an try to unravel the Poland again line however provided simply sufficient encouragement to the Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior to steal the ball.

Wales supporters tried to assist their crew over the road. “Don’t take me residence,” got here the mantra from the stands. Connor Roberts, who picked up an damage, left the sector in tears. Wales hoped that might be the final heartache of a nerve-shredding night time.

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