Written by Staff Writer
12 Oct, 2014 | 6:40 am
Poland beat the World Cup holders Germany 2-0 on Saturday night to earn a first ever victory over their neighbours and take control of Euro 2016 qualifying Group D.
Germany – who last lost a qualifying tie 33 matches ago against the Czech Republic in October 2007 – had dominated for long spells, but could not find a way past the Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
“We’re delighted to have beaten Germany for the first time. You can see how much it means to people,” said Lukasz Piszczek, who plays club football for the German side Borussia Dortmund.
“We had a little bit of luck, that’s why we won. We took our chances. We had two or three, and we scored two goals. Germany had a lot of chances and they didn’t take them.”
The Germany coach, Joachim Löw, agreed with Piszczek’s analysis. “I can’t fault the team,” he said, “but perhaps we should have made more of our chances.”
Arkadiusz Milik put Poland ahead with a well-timed header in the 51st minute and Sebastian Mila added another late in the game to secure a memorable result in Warsaw against their bitter rivals following 18 failed attempts.
Poland, who had scored once in their past six competitive meetings and lost 12 times against either Germany or West Germany, moved top of Group D on six points, as many as the Republic of Ireland, who face Löw’s side in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday. Germany are third, with three points from two games.
Wearing the black and red striped tops they last sported during their 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the World Cup semi-final in July, Germany lacked their usual sharpness.
Playing in the stadium where they lost 2-1 to Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final, the visitors were made to work hard against a solid Polish back line in front of a partisan crowd of 57,000.
Missing half a dozen starters including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marco Reus, Germany had their best chance in the 38th minute when Mario Götze floated a cross to the far post but the winger Karim Bellarabi, on his debut, fired wired. With Poland tiring towards half-time, Germany carved out several more good chances but neither Thomas Müller, twice, nor Bellarabi could finish what they had started. The missed opportunities proved costly as the hosts took the lead five minutes after the restart with Milik heading in a pinpoint Piszczek cross.
Stung by the setback, it turned out to be a one-sided second half with Germany attacking and the Poles waiting to hit back on the break. The Germany substitute Lukas Podolski shook the crossbar with his first touch of the ball but Poland sealed the win in the 88th minute when the Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski fed the ball through to Mila, who slotted past Manuel Neuer to cap an historic night for Adam Nawalka’s industrious side.
“After a loss you always need to show a good reaction,” admitted Löw, as he considered Tuesday’s opponents.
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