Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Penalty shoot-out heartbreak for Wales as Poland clinch Euro 2024 spot

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Mar 2024

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Wales suffered heartbreak in their first-ever penalty shoot-out as Poland booked their place at Euro 2024 after a goalless 120 minutes.

Spot-kicks were needed on a tense evening in which Ben Davies had a first-half header disallowed for offside but chances were scarce in this play-off final.

Wales were reduced to 10 in the final seconds as Chris Mepham was banished for a second yellow card and Cardiff City Stadium held its breath following an impromptu rendition of the national anthem.

Poland converted five perfect penalties with Robert Lewandowski, Sebastian Szymanski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Nicola Zalewski and Krzysztof Piątek successful against Danny Ward.

Wales matched them as Ben Davies, Kieffer Moore – via the underside of the crossbar – Harry Wilson and Neco Williams scored.

But Daniel James saw his effort pushed out by Wojciech Szczesny as Wales lost 5-4 on penalties and wild Polish celebrations began.

It was a cruel end for the hosts who had given everything to qualify for a third consecutive European Championship.

Wales had beaten the visitors only once – a maiden meeting in 1974 World Cup qualifying – and suffered seven defeats in 10 games, including six successive losses.

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