BERLIN: Poland became the first team eliminated from the UEFA Euro finals after losing 3-1 to Austria in Berlin.

Their players left the pitch in the Olympiastadion knowing that their campaign would be effectively over three hours later if Netherlands failed to beat France – and fail they did.

Both Poland and Austria had lost their opening matches but Austria were quickest to cast off the nerves when Gernot Trauner headed home a cross from Phillipp Mwene after only nne minutes.

Poland, still missing injured captain and record marksman Robert Lewandowski, hit back on the halfhour. Austria failed to clear a cross from the right, Jan Bednarek’s shot was blocked but Krzysztof Piatek pounced for the equaliser.

Lewandowski came off the bench in the second half but his team-mates could not provide the service he needed and man of the match Christoph Baumgartner shot past keeper Wojciech Szczesny to reclaim the lead.

Austria ensured victory in the 78th minute after Marcel Sabitzer was brought down by Szczesny after dashing clear on the counter-attack. Veteran Marko Arnautovic converted the penalty.

Manager Ralf Rangnick said afterwards that this had been the “most important match” since he took charge in April 2022.

Poland coach Michal Probierz explained the decision to start Lewandowski on the subs bench by saying: “He was fully fit and had trained with the team nut we knew this would be a highly intensive match and we decided with the medical team and Lewandowski himself that he shouldn’t start from the first minute.”

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