Poland v Germany (UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying)
The Stadion Narodowy held the match
|Event||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|Date||11 October 2014|
|Venue||Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw|
|Referee||Pedro Proença (Portugal)|
Poland v Germany was a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match that took place in Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw on 11 October 2014.
The match has been seen as the most famous football match in Polish football history, as Poland registered what would be the most famous victory in the country, beating the powerful Germany 2–0 on its route to the UEFA Euro 2016; indeed, it was very significant win as Polish journalist for Przegląd Sportowy, Michal Pol, that “a miracle, something that shouldn’t happen according to nature, physics and Murphy’s law”, despite earlier disadvantage.
|1||Poland||1||1||0||0||7||0||+7||3||Qualify for final tournament|
|2||Republic of Ireland||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3|
|3||Germany||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3||Advance to play-offs|
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Poland and Germany were grouped together in group D, where they also shared group with Scotland, Gibraltar, Ireland and Georgia.
Germany were the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, and was regarded as the major candidate to qualify and win the Euro 2016, and the thrashing of Brazil 7–1 cemented the confidence of the Germans. Inside the German squad, there were also having a great number of major star players like Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, André Schürrle, Mario Götze, Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels, many participated in Germany's 2014 World Cup conquest. Mesut Özil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marco Reus would miss the match due to injuries, but Germany also had no shortage of young talents at the time, which allowed the Germans to have a dual advantage and needed replacements in order to injuries of some of their key players. Therefore, Löw brought only nine reserve players into the team along with his main eleven, which was perceived as an open overconfident of the German side.
In contrast to a very successful German side at the time, Poland had just failed to qualify for the World Cup, and was doing overhaul to reform the team. They just appointed a new manager, Adam Nawałka. Polish football strength had also diminished greatly since 1990s, Poland performed poorly in every major tournaments since the collapse of the communist regime, and there was little hope that Poland could do anything to overcome over a powerful German side. Many Polish commentators suggested Poland should lose to Germany to focus against Scotland.
Both two nations played their first matches in the qualifiers. While Poland easily cruised past minnows Gibraltar 7–0, Germany had a harder time to beat Scotland 2–1 at home. However, since Gibraltar is a relatively weak name in European football, it contributed little to improve the confidence of Polish public ahead the crucial game at home against Germany.
History also represented Poland another huge disadvantage. Since 1933 when the two countries first met each other, Poland had faced Germany overall 18 times, but had only six draws and 12 defeats, having never beaten Germany in any single competitive matches nor even friendlies. In the last time Poland faced Germany, the two countries drew 0–0 in a friendly game back in May 2014 in Hamburg, with Germany deployed mostly reserve players. In a major competitive match, Poland last met Germany back in UEFA Euro 2008, where Polish-born Lukas Podolski shined as Germany overpowering Poland 2–0 in Klagenfurt. This match would be the 19th game the two countries faced up against each other.
The beginning of the game was not so difficult to realize. Germany, being regarded higher, making immense pressure at the first half. Thomas Müller sent a superb shot to Polish net, but was denied by Wojciech Szczęsny. Germany continued to dominate the whole game, with Karim Bellarabi, receiving ball from a pass by Christoph Kramer, found the Polish net in 38', only to be ended futile with a wild shot. Müller and Bellarabi both again found the Polish net near the end of the first half, but failed to utilize. During this difficult time, Robert Lewandowski, who was playing in German Bundesliga, tried to break through, ultimately fell to the German penalty area following contact with Antonio Rüdiger, but the Portuguese referee Pedro Proença refused to award Poland a penalty as it was too dubious. The first half ended goalless, despite German domination.
When the second half returned, Germany applied more pressure on Poland. However, while Germany was busy trying to find the Polish net, the Poles shocked them in 51', when Łukasz Piszczek passed the ball into the German penalty area, catching Manuel Neuer in surprise as Arkadiusz Milik didn't waste the golden opportunity to deliver the Poles a 1–0 lead, sending Polish fans to celebration. Refusing to leave Poland without a point, Mario Götze fired the ball to Polish net, but again Szczęsny came to rescue. Kamil Grosicki sent Neuer into alarm in 70', but there was no second goal. Adam Nawałka and Joachim Löw replaced their players from 70' trying to reinvigorate their respective sides. Mats Hummels headed wide from a corner, before on 78 minutes, Bellarabi's drive from just inside the Poland penalty area was palmed away by Szczęsny. Substitute Lukas Podolski, on his match against his birth country Poland, rattled the crossbar with a left-foot volley before Götze fired over, but no equalizer for Germany. As Germany was struggling for an equalizer, they were punished in 88', when Lewandowski defeated Erik Durm before laying the ball through to Sebastian Mila, who steered the ball past Neuer to cap a historic night in Warsaw for the Poles.
Man of the Match:
|1||Poland||2||2||0||0||9||0||+9||6||Qualify for final tournament|
|2||Republic of Ireland||2||2||0||0||9||1||+8||6|
|3||Germany||2||1||0||1||2||3||−1||3||Advance to play-offs|
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
The win meant Poland had beaten Germany for the first time ever in the history, and their first competitive win over Germany as well, after 81 years without a win. The win drew significant excitement and celebration in Poland. German manager Joachim Löw admitted the defeat and acknowledged Poland as the better side.
For Germany, the match had affected German team's spirits in their next game at the same month. The German side was held 1–1 by Ireland in their home after this loss, and it took over a month for the Germans to eventual recover from these two shock results. Once Germany recovered, however, the German team became unstoppable, suffering only one away loss to Ireland and comfortably took the first place, including a 3–1 revenge over Poland at home. Both Germany and Poland eventually seized the first and second place to directly qualify for UEFA Euro 2016, forcing the Irish to take playoff, which Ireland eventually joined Germany and Poland.
Germany and Poland were once again drawn together in Euro 2016, this time in group C along with Ukraine and Northern Ireland. Germany and Poland, just like in qualification, managed to take the first and second place, with their group stage encounter ended goalless in Saint-Denis, effectively eliminated the Ukrainians from the tournament. Germany went on to reach the semi-finals, before losing to host France. Poland reached the quarter-finals for the first time, but lost to Portugal after penalty shootout. Portugal eventually conquered the tournament by beating France.
- UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying
- Germany national football team
- Poland national football team
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