Bednarek’s Poland beat Brooks’ Wales on penalties to secure spot at Euro 2024

SAINTS defend­er Jan Bednarek qual­i­fied for Euro 2024 at the expense of David Brooks’ Wales on Tues­day evening.

Woj­ciech Szczęs­ny saved the deci­sive penal­ty from Dan James to secure his country’s pas­sage to this summer’s tour­na­ment.

The game went to penal­ties after nei­ther side were able to find a break­through in 120 min­utes of foot­ball.

Brooks’ was intro­duced min­utes before extra-time but was hooked sev­en min­utes into the sec­ond half.

The 26 year old had dropped to the bench as Ipswich Town loa­nee Kief­fer Moore came in for Wales’ only change.

Ahead of the game Cym­ru boss Rob Page explained his deci­sion to drop the Saints loa­nee, say­ing: “To ask him to go again at the lev­el we had the oth­er night is a big ask.”

Bednarek kept his place in defence, despite the crit­i­cism direct­ed at him, as Michał Pro­bierz named an unchanged start­ing line­up.

The defend­er strug­gled to pin down Bren­nan John­son in a first half which saw Ben Davies’ head­er ruled out after he escaped Bednarek on the box.

Bednarek con­tin­ued to be at the cen­tre of things defen­sive­ly; he had to recov­er quick­ly to stop Neco Williams’ long-range effort sail­ing into an emp­ty net.

Daily Echo:

Sev­er­al loud ren­di­tions of ‘Brooks, Brooks will tear you apart again’ blared from the home fans as they attempt­ed to sum­mon him onto the field just past the hour mark.

Instead, Page turned to the pace of Leeds United’s James in a bid to get the open­ing goal.

A bril­liant last-ditch tack­le on James tran­spired to be Bednarek’s final action as he was replaced by Bar­tosz Sala­m­on with 10 to go.

The Wales fans even­tu­al­ly got their wish with six reg­u­lar min­utes left as Brooks replaced Con­nor Roberts, but he could not pre­vent the game from head­ing to extra time.

He didn’t last long as he was replaced by Ipswich’s Nathan Broad­head in the sec­ond half of extra time.

Wales were reduced to 10 men when Cher­ries defend­er Chris Mepham saw red just before penal­ties.

James was the only man to miss from on the spot, his low effort saved by Juven­tus goal­keep­er Szczęs­ny.

Poland will now progress to Group D at this sum­mer’s tour­na­ment in Ger­many, along­side France, Aus­tria and the Nether­lands.

The com­pe­ti­tion could mark Bednarek’s fourth time rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try at an inter­na­tion­al tour­na­ment hav­ing appeared at Euro 2020 and the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.