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Poland advanced to Euro 2024 by defeating Wales on "cruel" penalties.

They only progressed past the European Championship group stage once, reaching the quarter-finals in 2016. In Thursday's play-off semi-final, the two teams scored freely: Poland destroyed Estonia 5-1, while Wales comfortably defeated Finland 4-1. But with qualification on the line, it was a much tighter game.

Poland advanced to Euro 2024 by defeating Wales on

Wales manager Rob Page said his side were "cruel" to lose out on Euro 2024 after Poland qualified in Cardiff on Tuesday, beating Wales 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out. Leeds winger Dan James was the only player not to find the net in the shootout after the teams were unable to split the scores in a tight 0-0 draw. Five flawless spot kicks secured their place in a tough Group D at this summer's Euro 2024 in Germany, alongside France, the Netherlands and Austria. Absent the iconic presence of the departing Gareth Bale, Wales' new generation were heartbroken to lose by the narrowest of margins to their manager and home fans at Cardiff City Stadium. As a result of going through this terrible event, we will grow and become stronger. This group has a future. There are amazing things ahead and so much more to come.”

 

Despite Barcelona's dangerous Robert Lewandowski up front, Poland failed to muster a single attempt on goal during the 120 minutes. However, Lewandowski, Sebastian Szymanski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Nicola Zalewski and Krzysztof Piatek confidently rediscovered their range. James needed to score to keep his nation in it, but Poland progressed to their seventh straight Euros thanks to Wojciech Szczesny's diving save down the right.


 

They only progressed past the European Championship group stage once, reaching the quarter-finals in 2016. In Thursday's play-off semi-final, the two teams scored freely: Poland destroyed Estonia 5-1, while Wales comfortably defeated Finland 4-1. But with qualification on the line, it was a much tighter game.


 

Even though David Brooks scored against the Finns, he was sent to the bench to make way for Kieffer Moore, so Page changed his approach. Since Page took charge four years ago, Moore's physical presence has been an essential tool in Wales' toolkit, offering more danger than Lewandowski at the other end.


 

After a goalless first half, the home team believed they had taken the lead at the break. After Moore was brought down, Ben Davies headed in, but the Tottenham defender was a few millimeters offside. Two minutes into the second half, Szczesny made a fantastic save to deny Moore the first goal, stopping the Ipswich striker's header from reaching the top corner.

 

Poland's poor driving performance has already cost them automatic qualification with losses in Moldova, the Czech Republic and Albania. Despite not having played any club football for Leicester this season, Wales custodian Danny Ward was not tested before the shootout. In Wales' first ever extra-time in international football history, the roles were reversed as Page's worn-out side held on from penalties.

 


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