Wales 0-0 Poland (Poland win 5-4 on penalties): What Were The Main Talking Points As the Dragons Suffer Infamous EURO 24 Heartbreak In Cardiff?

In what was a night of heartbreak for Wales on Tuesday, the Dragons missed out on qualification for this summer’s European Championships as they suffered a penalty shootout defeat against Poland in Cardiff.

With Tottenham defender Ben Davies having his first-half effort ruled out by VAR, Rob Page’s men dominated large spells and created a handful of chances on either side of the interval.

However, while Poland might have failed to record a single shot on target during the entire 120 minutes of action in south Wales, the Eagles put in a rugged performance on foreign soil and they certainly showed their mental resolve as they dragged themselves over the finish line in the most dramatic of fashion.

With all of Poland’s five penalty takers slotting past Leicester’s Danny Ward, the pressure was then too much for Daniel James as the Leeds star was denied by Wojciech Szczesny in what was a devastating moment for the 26-year-old.

Now winning all of their seven historic meetings against the Dragons, Robert Lewandowski’s side can now look forward to joining France, Netherlands and Austria in Group D at this summer’s Euros in Germany.

On a night when Poland dished out major qualifying heartbreak to the home support in Cardiff, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

Poland show their resolve under Probierz

Securing a World Cup knockout stage ticket out in Qatar 15 months ago, Poland opened up their EURO 24 qualifying campaign last year tipped as a leading contender to secure a top-two finish in Group E.

However, getting their qualifying adventure underway in the midst of a real struggle, a shock 2-0 defeat against Albania back in September was enough to cost Fernando Santos his job in the dugout.

Although many might have been shocked as Poland’s U21 boss Michael Probierz was handed a promotion, the Eagles do appear to have found a much-needed boost under the guidance of the 51-year-old.

Avoiding what would have been an infamous qualifying banana skin last week as they stormed their way to a thumping 5-1 romp against Estonia on home soil, Poland will also take a string of positives away from a famous penalties victory here.

Handing Wales major qualifying heartbreak in Cardiff, the Eagles have also secured three consecutive victories across all competitions for the first time since November 2021.

Wales at their inconsistent worst

Although Wales might have been hugely frustrated back in November as they eventually fell short in their bid to secure a top-two finish in Group D, the Dragons certainly breathed life back into their camp with a thumping performance last week.

Despite facing what could have been a real challenge in Cardiff, Page’s men stormed their way to an eye-catching 4-1 romp against Finland and they opened Tuesday’s showdown looking to make a similar statement.

However, although Wales might have opened their historic midweek showdown having lost just a single qualifying defeat in Cardiff since March 2011, they once again showed their inconsistencies on the biggest of stages.

Creating a handful of chances on either side of the half-time break and backed by an emotional home support, there is no doubt that the Dragons will take time to recover from major qualifying heartbreak here.

Continuing to gain a reputation for their inconsistencies and crashing back down to earth following last week’s empathic 4-1 win against Finland, Wales have now collected consecutive victories across any competitions just once since November 2021.

Where now for Page?

Although Page might have been quick to praise his side’s efforts on Tuesday night and insisted that their are plenty of positives to take away from their heartbreaking qualifying adventure, questions will certainly be asked of the 49-year-old and his long-term future.

Although Page might have led Wales to a famous World Cup return in Qatar 15 months ago, the Dragons managed to put just a single point on the board from their three appearances and eventually finished rock-bottom of the Group B standings.

With their World Cup nightmare underlined by a 3-0 drumming at the hands of bitter British rivals England, Page has come under increasing scrutiny over the past year.

Falling short in their bid to clinch an automatic ticket to this summer’s European Championships and suffering more qualifying heartbreak on home soil, some sections around Cardiff who believe a change in the dugout is needed.

While Page himself might have only put pen to paper on a new deal with the FAW prior to the 2022 World Cup, it appears that the Dragons have a major decision on their hands once the dust has settled.

Match Report

Wales: Ward, Mepham, Rodon, Davies, Roberts, James, Ampadu, Williams, Wilson, Johnson, Moore

Subs: Brooks, James, Broadhead

Poland: Szczesny, Bednarek, Dawidowicz, Kiwior, Zalewski, Zielinski, Slisz, Piotrowski, Frankowski, Swiderski, Lewandowski

Subs: Romanchuk, Salamon, Szymanski, Piatek

Goals: N/A

Yellow Cards: Wales: Mepham, James – Poland: Zalewski, Piotrowski

Red Cards: Mepham

Referee: Daniele Orsato

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