Wales-Poland 1: Bale and company are relegated from the top tier of the Nations League as Swiderski breaks Welsh hearts

THIS was, in more ways than one, a hair-raising night for Gareth Bale and Wales as they headed to the World Cup.

Her talismanic skipper is clearly unfit for the match and has only been the center of attention twice – one when his Alice band fell out.

Wales were relegated to Nations League Group B after losing to Poland

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Wales were relegated to Nations League Group B after losing to PolandPhoto credit: Rex
Karol Swiderski condemned Robert Page's team to a 0-1 defeat

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Karol Swiderski condemned Robert Page’s team to a 0-1 defeatPhoto credit: REX
The Dragons picked up a single point from their second season in the Nations League

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The Dragons picked up a single point from their second season in the Nations LeagueCredit: PA

Poland’s superstar Robert Lewandowski, on the other hand, showed that one moment of real class to score the winning goal just before the hour mark.

On Thursday it was Kevin de Bruyne – and on Sunday it was the Barcleona newcomer who crushed the Dragons.

Rob Page’s men are certainly learning the hard way what it’s like to go head-to-head with the best in the world.

They travel to Qatar in seven weeks’ time hoping their recent streak of just one win in their last seven games doesn’t really reflect where they stand.

Page said planning for this tournament would begin as soon as the final whistle blew here – as there was still something at stake for his team.

A win would have meant they would have stayed in the top flight of the Nations League when they return in two years – and it would have been a nice psychological blow to World Cup rivals England too.

Just as importantly, it almost guaranteed a place in the Euro 2024 play-offs no matter how the group played.

That would have been handy – but it wasn’t supposed to be.

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Wales again had a provisional look at them as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ben Davies and Harry Wilson were all absent injured.

Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu also missed out through suspension – so this was a very different team from what might be going into the next game.

On November 21, it’s up against the USA in Qatar – the Dragons are in the final for the first time since 1958.

Lewandowski and his Polish team knew a point would be enough for them and they were roared on by a sizeable traveling support.

It was Poland who had the better chances early on as Joe Rodon intervened, perfectly timed to thwart Szymon Zurkowski.

Jakub Kiwior delivered a header that forced Wayne Hennessey to make his first save of the night.

The veteran was almost red in the face when he averted his eyes from a routine back pass from Rodon and had to crawl the ball off the line.

It was a piece of goalie straight out of the Peter Enckelman handbook, but thankfully he was able to recover.

There was a lot of needle involved as the Polish fans started the evening by singing the first part of the Welsh national anthem.

Robert Page's troops enter Qatar 2022 in terrible form

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Robert Page’s troops enter Qatar 2022 in terrible formCredit: GETTY

Perhaps that wound up defender Connor Roberts as he had a tasty running fight with Nicola Zalewski. However, they weren’t the only ones.

A big opportunity for the Dragons came when a long punt up front from Ben Cabango went unmet and Dan James went behind.

The Fulham man used his pace to get by but lacked composure and shot straight at the legs of Wojciech Szczesny – who also managed to save the cross from the rebound.

Bale’s biggest contribution came as he attempted to keep playing while also attempting to reattach his hairband – prompting a collective giggle in the stands.

He could have given Poland a hairy moment when he streaked wide to concede a long throw-in from Roberts but failed to force the ball from a tight angle under Szczesny.

The Dragons closed in again as Brennan Johnson found space for a shot on the edge of the box, but his shot on target caught James’ heels and turned wide.

Page would have been pleased with the way his team kept the Poles under control, but a class moment just before the hour mark opened the way for them.

Lewandwski’s strike with the outside of his foot was brilliant as he went around Rodon and sent Karol Swiderski clear to score through Hennessey’s legs.

The USA-based forward also took the winner when those teams met in June.

Wales could have hit back straight when Johnson sliced ​​in from the right and fired a low shot that was brilliantly tipped away by Szczesny.

He was beaten in added time when Bale headed a Sorba Thomas cross, but his effort rattled off the bar. However, a draw would not have been enough.

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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6300325/wales-relegated-nations-league-poland/ Wales-Poland 1: Bale and company are relegated from the top tier of the Nations League as Swiderski breaks Welsh hearts

ClareFora

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