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Austria Late Goals Secure Win And Eliminate Poland From Euro Cup 2024

Austria Late Goals Secure Win And Eliminate Poland From Euro Cup 2024

Austria secured a crucial win with two late goals, enhancing their chances of reaching the Euro Cup 2024 last 16 while Poland became the first team to be eliminated.

Poland’s exit was confirmed after France’s draw with the Netherlands later on Friday, ensuring Poland would finish last in Group D regardless of their final game outcome.

Read more: Germany Secures Knockout Spot With 2-0 Victory Over Hungary At Euro Cup 2024

Both teams entered the Berlin match needing a win to stay in the tournament, creating a tense, knockout-like atmosphere at the Olympiastadion with fervent fan support and high-paced action on the pitch.

Austria opened the scoring when Gernot Trauner headed in Phillipp Mwene’s cross. Poland, initially pinned back, soon improved and equalized at the 30-minute mark. A failed clearance from a right-wing cross led to Jan Bednarek’s blocked shot, but Krzysztof Piatek pounced on the rebound to score.

Clear opportunities dwindled afterward, even with Robert Lewandowski coming off the bench for Poland. However, Austria found late inspiration. Marko Arnautovic’s clever dummy allowed Christoph Baumgartner to advance and calmly score past Wojciech Szczesny.

Austria sealed their victory moments later when Marcel Sabitzer broke free and was fouled by Szczesny, leading to Arnautovic converting the penalty. Poland’s search for an equalizer left them vulnerable, and Austria capitalized to secure the win.

Poland becomes the first team to be eliminated

Arnautovic’s goal ignited jubilant celebrations among Austria fans, who, after a narrow defeat by France in their opening game, now head to Dortmund on Tuesday to face the Netherlands with renewed hope of advancing.

Poland, on the other hand, became the first of the 24 teams at Euro Cup 2024 to be eliminated when the Netherlands failed to beat France in Leipzig.

Though Poland can still finish level on points with Austria, currently in third place, the head-to-head record would determine the standings. This defeat means Poland now only have their pride to play for, even if their top scorer Lewandowski can start their final match against France after recovering from a thigh injury.

Lewandowski, brought on for the final half-hour, was met with a wild reaction from Polish fans, but he couldn’t make an impact. His teammates failed to provide him with any chances to add to his 82 international goals. In contrast, Arnautovic, starting his first competitive game for Austria since September, was the one to settle the match.

Austria’s ‘crucial’ match

Austria’s coach, Ralf Rangnick, called this game the “most important match” since his tenure began in April 2022. Despite a recent loss to France, Austria had previously lost only one of 16 games, earning them a reputation as a potential surprise team in the tournament.

Christoph Baumgartner, the standout player against Poland, welcomed this expectation, stressing the team’s self-imposed pressure and belief in their quality.

Poland’s coach, Michal Probierz, addressed questions about Robert Lewandowski’s fitness, confirming he was fully fit but benched initially to target Austria’s defense in the second half, a strategy that ultimately fell short.