(Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Poland’s under-21 team failed in their bid to qualify for the Euro 2023 tournament in Romania and Georgia. Maciej Stolarczyk’s side suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against Germany in Łódź.
The youth side started their game knowing that Germany had already secured the automatic qualification spot, and their only route to qualification would come through the play-offs. Because of their inferior head-to-head record against Israel, Poland would need to match Israel’s own result against San Marino.
That Stolarczyk’s boys were even in such a position was due to the Israelis’ surprise defeat in Latvia on Thursday; but, as expected, San Marino were unable to offer a similar shock. Two early goals earned Israel an eventual 2-0 win, and left victory as the only chance of Poland reaching the finals.
After 25 minutes, it looked as though that would be an even tougher task. Capitalising on a defensive error from Piast Gliwice’s Ariel Mosór, Youssoufa Moukoko fired low, past Cezary Miszta to give the Germans the lead.
That advantage lasted for all of ten minutes, before Poland drew level. Kacper Kozłowski placed a first-time cross into the direction of Bartosz Białek, and the Wolfsburg striker headed into the bottom corner.
Further chances followed either side of the break, with little reward. Białek was put through on goal at the end of the first half, but failed to test the German keeper; whilst Michał Skóraś hit the bar early in the second.
From thereon in, the visitors began to take control. Białek came to Poland’s rescue with a headed goal line clearance, and Michał Karbownik bravely prevented the Germans taking advantage of a three-on-one situation.
Finally, with five minutes left on the clock, Borussia Dortmund striker Moukoko struck again to eliminate the Poles. The 17-year-old, undaunted by pressure from Mosór and substitute Konrad Gruszkowski, fired low into Miszta’s right-hand corner.
Poland – Germany 1:2 (1:1)
Bartosz Białek 34′ – Youssoufa Moukoko 25′, 84′
Poland: Cezary Miszta – Sebastian Walukiewicz (Konrad Gruszkowski 68′), Ariel Mosór, Jakub Kiwior, Michał Karbownik (Tomasz Pieńko 85′) – Łukasz Łakomy (Mariusz Fornalczyk 58′), Ben Lederman (Jakub Kałuziński 58′), Łukasz Poręba, Kacper Kozłowski, Michał Skóraś – Bartosz Białek (Adrian Benedyczak 68′).
Germany: Nico Mantl – Josha Vagnoman, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Malick Thiaw (Yann Aurel Bisseck 46′), Noah Katterbach – Lazar Samardžić (Tim Lemperle 61′), Eric Martel, Patrick Osterhage (Florian Flick 68′) – Jonathan Burkardt, Youssoufa Moukoko, Faride Alidou (Kilian Fischer 82′).