Poland ‘missed moment’ with Lewandowski return – Football News

Poland ‘missed moment’ with Lewandowski return

Poland coach Michal Probierz said the team had missed its moment when all-time top scorer Robert Lewandowski entered the match against Austria after it was already two-thirds over.

A 3-1 loss to Austria on Friday wound up eliminating Poland from Euro 2024 following France’s draw with the Netherlands later in the day in the same group.

“We knew that this would be a highly intensive match, and we decided with the medical team, and Lewandowski himself, that he would not be starting from the first minutes,” he said after Friday’s game in Berlin.

“We hoped that we could break through the Austrian defence in the second half, it’s a pity that we didn’t score,” he added.

“We missed that moment.”

Lewandowski, who missed the 2-1 defeat by the Netherlands in their opening group game due to an injury, lit up the crowd when he came in on the hour mark to the relief of fans who had been wondering if he would spend the full 90 on the sidelines.

However, his presence on the field failed to translate into a winning edge for the team. Poland had gone into half-time tied with Austria who had taken the lead with a nine-minute goal, before striker Krzysztof Piatek levelled on the half-hour mark.

It took less than seven minutes after Lewandowski, who boasts a remarkable 82 goals in more than 150 internationals, was on the field for Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner to net a second goal, followed by a Marko Arnautovic penalty 12 minutes later.

Poland needed a France defeat against the Netherlands in order to have a chance of still making it through to the round of 16 but a draw means they become the first team eliminated from the competition.

However, speaking before Poland’s fate was confirmed, Probierz promised that the team can play more aggressively when they face France in their final group game on Tuesday in Dortmund.

“For us it is still a journey, and for us, we play very good football,” he said.

Probierz’s Austrian counterpart Ralf Rangnick, meanwhile, was thrilled with his side’s performance that kept them firmly in the running for a place in the knockout stage.

“The first 20 minutes were maybe perfect on our side,” the 65-year-old said, adding: “In the second half we totally controlled the match.”

Rangnick in particular praised Baumgartner, who ran straight up to his coach to hug him after scoring Austria’s second goal.

“I told him at half-time that he is a very important player and that he can make a difference,” Rangnick said.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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