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Published Time: 21.06.2024 - 15:01:10 Modified Time: 21.06.2024 - 15:01:10

Poland therefore needed others to step up to provide the cutting edge in attack that Lewandwoski has given them over so many years. Poland vs Austria


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Poland 1 Austria 3 – Arnautovic struts his stuff and Rangnick’s inspired changes

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When you’re not one of the biggest footballing nations, the elite talent at your disposal is limited to a handful of player at most. So, when you arrive at a major tournament and your star man and all-time record goal scorer, 35-year-old Lewandowski, is nursing a thigh injury, the outlook can look bleak.

Poland therefore needed others to step up to provide the cutting edge in attack that Lewandwoski has given them over so many years.

The hope was that the Barcelona forward would only miss Poland’s opening game of Euro 2024 (against Netherlands on June 16), but he was still not fit to start this clash against Austria.

In the first game, Adam Buksa led the line and scored to give Poland the lead. It wasn’t enough (Netherlands won 2-1), but they did look good for a point until Wout Weghorst’s late goal.

Against Austria, with Buksa less influential, it was the turn of Krzysztof Piatek to score, with the 28-year-old converting the equaliser from close range after the ball fell invitingly to him in the box.

Lewandowski could only watch on from the bench in the first half, offering his thoughts to the coaching staff to try and influence proceedings, until his introduction on 60 minutes. The game was in the balance but he was unable to provide the extra spark required as Poland fell to a second straight 2-1 defeat that leaves them on the brink of elimination.

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Rangnick made a big call up front, recalling Marko Arnautovic back into the starting XI in place of Michael Gregoritsch after the latter got the nod against France earlier in the week.

Bologna forward Arnautovic, 35, who spent last season on loan with Inter Milan, is heading for the end of his career now but remains one of Austria’s key men.

He’s not the fiery, me-against-the-world youngster he once was, but he can still strut like a peacock. So how would he fare leading Austria’s high intensity, high-pressing game? Well, he wasn’t exactly haring around like a greyhound, but his work rate was great, he won the ball back in the final third, he linked up well in Austria’s dangerous front four and he had a couple of sights at goal.

You would imagine Rangnick would prefer a younger version of the former West Ham United and Stoke player to lead his line, but Arnautovic did pretty well and it was his clever dummy that led to Baumgartner putting Austria ahead in the second half.

With 15 minutes to go Gregoritsch was waiting impatiently to come on as a substitute, presumably for Arnautovic, but then Sabitzer won a penalty and nobidy was going to stop the captain taking it.

His 37th goal for Austria was one of his most important… and then he was subbed.

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Austria played pretty well in the first half but lacked control of the game. Rangnick’s first change at half-time saw Patrick Wimmer, the fun, blonde top-knotted young Wolfsburg winger who loves a rabona, on for Florian Grillitsch.

That meant Konrad Laimer pushed back into central midfield to help better retain possession, while Wimmer hugged the right touchline and stretched play.

Austria were better, but it still wasn’t enough. After the hour, Rangnick took off busy left-back Phillipp Mwene, who had set up the opening goal.

Mwene was sprightly but, being right-footed, he had a tendency to cut inside and occupy space belonging to Marcel Sabitzer.

On came the left-footed, more attack-minded Alexander Prass, again to stretch play and prise Poland apart to create gaps for Baumgartner and Sabitzer to exploit.

It worked within three minutes — Prass, wide left, picked out Baumgartner in space via an Arnautovic dummy and he beat Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with a fine low finish.

You’ve got to love it when a plan comes together.

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Austria were such good value for that victory, they were on it from the first seconds and looked the more likely to score even once they had that two goal margin in the closing stages..

The Austrian supporters were in fine voice and it sounded almost as though the entire nation was in the stadium.

Magnificent from Rangnick and his players.

90' Poland 1-3 Austria

There will be four minutes of added time.

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86' Poland 1-3 Austria

Posch tries his luck from range and it's brilliant from the Polish keeper, one of the saves of the tournament sees him at full stretch to keep it out.

Moments later and Laimer rounds the keeper but takes it too wide and sees his effort drift across the face of goal and wide.

Austria still hungry despite their lead.

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Austria are threatening to run riot here, almost another two goals in as many minutes. Poland look done.

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That goal feels huge. Not only does it probably confirm victory, it also helps with Austria's goal difference should they end up in third place.

80' Poland 1-3 Austria

Baumgartner and Arnautovic off, Gregoritsch and Schmid come on.

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A lovely penalty from Arnautovic and that should be the game for Austria. They've been excellent in the second half.

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78' Poland 1-3 Austria

That is surely that.

Szczesny goes from hero to villain, bringing down Sabitzer before being sent the wrong way from the penalty spot by Arnautovic.

Szczesny was booked for the challenge but that's the least of Poland's problems at this moment in time.

Szczesny brings down Sabitzer in the box and that might be the most blatant foul of the Euros! Szczesny has even thanked the ref for not sending him off.

I’m pretty sure Arnautovic was to be subbed but he's taking the penalty instead...

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75' Poland 1-2 Austria

Szczesny produces an excellent save to keep Poland in this game.

The former Arsenal man got down well to stop Wimmer's low shot after fine work from Baumgartner surging through the midfield.

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It worked immediately! Prass on the left, low ball inside, Arnautovic dummies, Baumgartner is in space and he drills low past the keeper. Gotta love it when a plan comes together.

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66' Poland 1-2 Austria

The game was struggling to settle into a rhythm with all the substitutions but that's a terrific goal to give Austria the lead.

Baumgartner runs onto a through ball after an excellent Arnautovic dummy and slots the ball into the bottom corner with ease.

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After sending on right-winger Wimmer at half-time, Rangnick has now replaced right-footed left-back Mwene with Alexander Prass, who is left-footed and more attack-minded. You can see he wants to prise Poland apart and create space for Baumgartner and Sabitzer to exploit around the penalty area.

64' Poland 1-1 Austria

Prass replaces Mwene, something of a surprise given how well the latter was playing.

Moments later and Lewandowski is booked for raising his arm in an aerial battle, his first real contribution at this tournament.

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