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Euro 2020: Lewandowski, Poland dropped out of the tournament with a 3-2 loss to Sweden

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Image source: AP

Robert Lewandowski

Even with two goals, Robert Lewandowski still could not prevent Poland from leaving the European Championship early.

The FIFA player of the year made up for a striking early triple miss by scoring twice in the second half on Wednesday, but Victor Claesson won the winning goal in the final to give Sweden a 3-2 victory.

Emil Forsberg scored twice for the Swedes, who finished first in Group E and then will face third in Glasgow on Tuesday.

For Poland and Lewandowski, this is another early exit from a major football tournament.

The Bayern Munich striker leaves Euro 2020 with three goals, his best draw at the World Cup or the European Championship. But even his double against Sweden – in the 61st and 84th minute – could be overshadowed by an unusual sequence of events in the first half, when he aimed the ball against the crossbar twice in so many seconds.

After the second, the ball landed at the striker’s feet in front of the door, but landed between his legs and he still could not score.

There was panting and even some laughter inside St. Petersburg Stadium as reruns appeared on the big screens.

By then, Forsberg had already scored, after 81 seconds for the second fastest goal in the history of the tournament. He added second in the 59th on a counterattack.

Poland needed a win to move on, but failed to hold the tie after Claesson was released for the final goal in the final seconds.

This lifted Sweden back over Spain, which reduced to a 5-0 victory over Slovakia in a match that is being played simultaneously. Spain would have finished first in the group if it had not been for Claeson’s goal.

A bigger disappointment at the international level is for Lewandowski, who came out in a record year at Bayern after scoring 41 goals in one season in the Bundesliga. He moved to third place, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, for goals scored in the Champions League and now has 69 goals for his country.

But it seems he will just have to be content with winning a club-level title. In four appearances in a major tournament with Poland, Lewandowski has left the group stage three times.

He is now 32, and there are perhaps only two major international tournaments left in him – if Poland qualifies.

Like Lewandowski, Forsberg already has three goals at Euro 2020 and has the honor of scoring the fastest goal in this year’s tournament.

Only Russian player Dmitry Kirichenko – in 2004 against Greece – scored a faster goal than Forsberg, who collected a rebound from a blocked shot by Alexander Isaac and scored a low, left foot.

The winger put Sweden ahead with 2: 0, twisting in a low shot at the end of a counterattack led by deputy Dejan Kulusevski.

Seeking to make amends, Lewandowski almost single-handedly brought Poland back into the game.

He ran on a pass, cut inside and curled an elegant finish in the top corner for his first goal. He then collected a cross from the left, which was missed by the Swedish defense and showed calm to turn into the corner.

Another would end a remarkable story of the attacker’s redemption after his early omissions. But the last word was Klason, not Lewandowski

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