Swiderski capped Poland’s return against Wales in the opening of the League of Nations League of Nations

For Wales, this League of Nations opener will always match a character-building exercise to warm up for their biggest game in 64 years and an impressive display in Wrocław despite a defeat by Poland provided a welcome take-off days before their World Cup final.

Rob Page has apologetically admitted that he called an experimental team one-eyed during the Sunday conflict in Cardiff, a game that crept into the rearview mirror.

Wales led through Jonny Williams’ second goal for his country, a good strike from 20 yards, but the Poland substitutes Jakub Kaminski and Karol Swiderski reversed the score to ensure the hosts’ victory.

Page said it would be crazy to endanger any of Wales ’vital men and so Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ben Davies were present in the dressing room before and after the game but rested overall with the bigger picture in mind.

“I made sure they were in the dressing room,” said the Welsh manager. “They are a huge influence on that group and I wanted them there. Even at halftime I wanted them to be a part of it and they were the first through the door at the end. I didn’t need to risk Aaron, Gareth, Ben, Joe, there was no point in that. ”

Williams’ strike was a beauty, a dart-like finish from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner. Kaminski scored in his first Poland goal with 72 minutes on the clock before Swiderski feasted on the chips after Robert Lewandowski’s shot was deflected.

“We took the lead against a very good Polish team and I thought we deserved a point,” Page said. “The second goal was wrong; it takes two deviations, it falls four meters outside, of course he will win. ”

The nature of the Wales line-up meant that a mismatch was inevitable and that there was no greater than Chris Gunter, a free agent after leaving Charlton Athletic for League One, being asked to deal with Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich striker who wants to join Barcelona after reaching Barcelona. . oral agreement with the Spanish club.

Chris Gunter of Wales (right) looks saddened after conceding a goal during the UEFA Nations League match against Poland at Wroclaw Stadium.
Chris Gunter (right) looks sad after Poland’s late return. Photo: Rafal Oleksiewicz / PA

Gunter, who became the first male to win 100 caps for Wales last year, commanded his country and played on the right flank of a three-man defense. Ipswich winger Wes Burns made his senior debut on the left wing and Williams, who spent the last season in League Two with Swindon, ran behind Kieffer Moore and Daniel James.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward made an extensive save to deny Lewandowski 21 minutes after Poland’s record-breaking goalkeeper, this his 130th cap, melted the Welsh defense with a rising run that began with a musket Dylan Levitt halfway and then bamboo Chris Mepham before being invited to shoot. .

Poland missed another chance five minutes before half-time, Adam Buksa failed to connect inside the box. But Wales were bright and noisy, characterized by Burns striking a volley goalwards from Williams’ neat tea cross. James also dropped a shot wide of a post and before the break he staggered clearly inside the box but was unable to locate Moore.

James and Moore, the only outfielders with a realistic chance to start the game on Sunday, played only the first half, as did Ward, who last month made his first Premier League start for Leicester almost four years after joining the club, before being. replaced by Wayne Hennessey, another player in the 100 club. Another former Liverpool goalkeeper, Kamil Grabara, now of Copenhagen, made his senior debut for Poland, who were without Aston Villa’s Matty Cash and Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik through injury.

How is Wales preparing for what will be the biggest game of most of their careers? “We want to keep the environment exactly the same,” Page said. “There’s nothing different about how we plan, how we train. We don’t need to create that added pressure. We don’t need it, we don’t want it. We thrive on occasions like this; we’ve done it in the past and so it’s “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. We’re going to throw everything we have to win that game. “

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