On the brink of their first ever win against Germany, Poland had to settle for a 2-2 draw following Cacau's added-time goal in the maiden international to be played at Gdansk's newly opened stadium for UEFA EURO 2012.
Beaten 12 times in their previous 16 encounters against Germany, Poland knew they faced a tough task against the first team to join themselves and Ukraine at next summer's finals. Twice they took the lead, however, first through Robert Lewandowski, whose goal was cancelled out by a Toni Kroos penalty, and then via Jakub Błaszczykowski, whose spot kick looked set to be decisive until Cacau's intervention.
Up against prolific Polish-born strike duo Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, Arsenal FC goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny was in inspired form. His first key stop came when he denied André Schürrle on nine minutes, with German counterpart Tim Wiese subsequently keeping out Sławomir Peszko after a slick counterattack from the hosts.
Szczęsny thwarted Klose and Podolski a number of times before the half was out and his work was rewarded ten minutes after the interval, Lewandowski firing in after good build-up play from Błaszczykowski and Dariusz Dudka.
Kroos restored parity from the spot midway through the second period only for Poland to come back at them once again, despite the 81st-minute dismissal of Arkadiusz Głowacki. Błaszczykowski sparked joy among the home fans from the spot on 90 minutes, but there was still time for Cacau to find a way past Szczęsny after being fed by Thomas Müller.
"We're angry because it was a big opportunity to beat the Germans," said Lewandowski. "We were five seconds from winning the game, but they scored from our mistake. It's better that it happened in a friendly game. If we fail to win in such circumstances at EURO 2012, it would be much more painful."
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.
|Franciszek Smuda (POL)||Joachim Löw (GER)|
|Daniele Orsato (ITA)|