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Lewandowski and Poland crash out of Euros

Despite initially equalizing and threatening to take the lead in the first half, Poland faltered after halftime

Lewandowski and Poland crash out of Euros

Robert Lewandowski

BERLIN: Austria's strong second-half display revitalised its prospects in Euro 2024, securing a 3-1 victory over Poland. This result condemned Poland to being the first team eliminated from the tournament, following a goalless draw between Netherlands and France earlier in the day.

Having lost their first two group matches, Poland's chances of advancing from Group D were already dim before the France-Netherlands draw sealed their premature exit. Goals from Gernot Trauner, Christian Baumgartner, and Marko Arnautovic revived Austria's hopes of progressing to the next round.

Despite initially equalizing and threatening to take the lead in the first half, Poland faltered after halftime. Even news of top scorer Robert Lewandowski's absence from the starting line-up did not deter Polish fans, who ignited flares and sang the national anthem fervently.

Austria took an early lead through a powerful header by Trauner, capitalizing on Philipp Mwene's long throw-ins. Although Poland managed to level the score through Krsysztof Piatek, Austria regained control in the second half.

Austria's second goal was a display of precision and teamwork, with Alexander Prass setting up Baumgartner for a clinical finish. Shortly after, Arnautovic extended Austria's lead from the penalty spot after Marcel Sabitzer was fouled, sealing a 3-1 win and leaving Poland with no hope of recovery.

Lewandowski's late introduction failed to turn the tide for Poland, as his brief appearance ended with a yellow card. His absence throughout the tournament proved costly as Poland crashed out of Euro 2024.

"We gave away the match a little bit which was completely unnecessary, and then in the second half, we knew that now we have to deliver," man of the match Baumgartner told reporters.

"That's one of our qualities, one of our characteristics, that we know how to deal with these kinds of situations, and know how to react to those situations, and that's why eventually it was a positive result for us," he added.

Poland coach Michal Probierz said Lewandowski was fully fit, and had trained with the team.

"We knew that this would be a highly-intensive match, so we decided with the medical team and Robert Lewandowski himself that he would not be starting from the first minute," Probierz told reporters.

"We hoped that we could break through the Austrian defence in the second half, it's a pity we didn't score a winner first," he added.

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