Wales fail to qualify for Euro 2024 in dramatic play-off final defeat to Poland on penalties

Wales fail to qualify for Euro 2024 in dramatic play-off final defeat to Poland on penalties

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Stuart Ballard

By Stuart Ballard

Published: 26/03/2024

- 22:30

Updated: 27/03/2024

- 07:09

Wales won't be joining England and Scotland at this summer's European Championships after losing to Poland in the play-off final on penalties

Wales supporters have been left in tears after seeing their hopes of qualifying for the 2024 European Championships dashed in a dramatic defeat to Poland in their play-off final on penalties.

Wales comfortably came through their semi-final last week after defeating Finland 4-1.

But a much tougher test awaited them in the final match to qualify for the Euros against Robert Lewandowski's Poland.

Rob Page was hoping to guide Wales to their third consecutive European Championships having qualified for the 2016 and 2021 tournaments.

Wales lost to Poland on penalties

Wales lost to Poland on penalties


The reward for this match was a place in Group D of the 2024 tournament along with the Netherlands, France and Austria.

Wales held the advantage for the tie with the game being held in Cardiff but Poland fans were making their voices heard at the start of the game with a loud atmosphere from all corners of the ground.

It was an understandable cagey start from both sides to start the match with neither wanting to give anything away.

Kieffer Moore was proving to be a threat for Wales early on while the hosts were able to keep Lewandowski quiet for most of it.

The stadium then erupted just before the break when Ben Davies rose to nod the ball into the back of the net after a flick-on from Moore.

The flag was raised to halt the celebrations and a VAR check showed Davies was fractionally offside.

A collective sigh was heard around the ground as the half-time whistle was blown but the nerves in the stands from both sets of supporters returned at the start of the second half.

Moore came extremely close to giving Wales the lead three minutes after the restart with a looping header toward the backpost, only for Wojciech Szczesny to pull off an incredible fingertip save.

Lewandowski began to get on the ball more for the visitors as the half grew on to spell danger for Wales, but the Welsh defensive unit held firm.

Tension inside the stadium continued to grow with the game hanging on a knife edge as the minutes ticked away.

Wojciech Szczesny was the hero for Poland in the end

Wojciech Szczesny was the hero for Poland in the end


Neither side was able to create any clear-cut chances in the dying stages of the 90 minutes with the play-off going into extra time.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock with Szczesny once again coming to Poland's rescue while Jakub Piotrowski’s curling effort from 20 yards out missed by inches.

Poland had Wales on the back foot in the second half of extra time, but the hosts were able to hold on with penalties needed to decide the winner.


There was still time for plenty of drama in the final minute of stoppage time when the referee showed Chris Meopham a second yellow to reduce Wales to 10 men before the final whistle blew.

A spinetingling rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau was roared by the Welsh crowd one final time to get behind their team as the players stepped up for the penalties.

Both teams put on an expedition with their penalties as it went to sudden death with Dan James taking Wales' fifth penalty.

The Leeds star stepped up and sent his effort to the bottom left, but Szczesny read it and parried the shot wide with Poland's squad rushing onto the field to celebrate with the Welsh side inconsolable.

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