Poland fought bravely against France in their FIFA World Cup knockout match on Sunday, but were eventually eliminated from the competition following a 3-1 defeat.
In reality, it would have taken a miracle for Poland to beat the reigning world champions, but unlike the final group match against Argentina, Poland did have some good scoring opportunities. In fact, before the French scored in the last moments of the first half through Olivier Giroud, it was Poland who had come closest to scoring with Lewandowski shooting just wide, Zieliński’s shot being saved by the French goalkeeper, and Kaminski’s shot being cleared off the line.
In the second half, the French began to hit Poland on the counter attack as Poland pushed in search of an equalizer. They scored two more goals with two stunning strikes by France’s best player Kylian Mbappe. Poland scored a late consolation goal when the referee took advantage of a VAR review to award the Poles a penalty. Lewandowski scored eventually after having to retake the kick, but it was France who deservedly advanced into the quarter finals.
The hero of Poland’s team throughout the tournament was goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny who saved penalties in the games against Saudi Arabia and Argentina. His son Liam took the defeat against France badly and had to be comforted by his father after the game.
Photographs of the father comforting his son will be one of the poignant moments of this World Cup.
Liam, like many across Poland, must be very proud of his father, and Szczęsny’s penalty saves will live on in the history of Polish football.