Wales fail to qualify for Euro 2024 as Dan James suffers penalty heartbreak against Poland

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Wales have failed to qualify for Euro 2024 as Dan James missed his penalty shootout kick against Poland.

Rob Page’s side finished third in their main qualifying group but reached the play-offs due to their Nations League performance.

James' penalty was saved and Wales therefore missed out on Euro 2024

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James’ penalty was saved and Wales therefore missed out on Euro 2024Credit: @ViaplaySportsUK X

They thrashed Finland 4-1 in Cardiff before returning to the capital on Tuesday night to seal their spot in Germany this summer.

However, they were unable to carry their momentum into the play-off final against Poland and have missed out on the Euros.

Wales thought they took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Ben Davies headed in, but VAR adjudged him to be offside.

Both sides offered little threat in front of goal in the second-half although Robert Lewandowksi nearly scored a late winner for Poland.

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Extra-time was therefore required to settle the result, with Chris Mepham sent off for Wales late on with the score still goalless.

Poland failed to score from their resulting corner to send the tie to a penalty shootout for a place at Euro 2024.

Every player scored their spot-kicks until James stood up for Wales, with his effort being saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

It sparked celebratory scenes from Poland as they join the Netherlands, Austria and France in Group D this summer.

Poland can now look forward to Germany this summer

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Poland can now look forward to Germany this summerCredit: Getty
James was consoled after his penalty miss

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James was consoled after his penalty missCredit: Getty

Wales players on the other hand were visibly emotional as they failed to reach their third consecutive Euros.

Speaking after the heartbreak, Wales boss Page told S4C: “It’s a cruel game, that’s what I’ve said to the players, one kick away from qualifying. It hurts.

“I thought we were the better team, my message to the players at half-time was we are the better team, we will win this game.

“It’s so disappointing but look how far we’ve come, there’s something good happening with this group.

“We rallied around Daniel James, he had the bravery to take that penalty, I am so proud of that group.”

Wales just couldn't quite get over the final hurdle

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Wales just couldn’t quite get over the final hurdleCredit: Getty

Commenting on his future, he added: “This team is going somewhere, they’re so disappointed that they haven’t qualified tonight.

“They’re hungry for it, there’s a lot more to come and plenty more good times ahead.”

Poland join Ukraine and Georgia as play-off winners following their respective victories over Iceland and Greece.

It now means that qualification for Euro 2024 has been fully completed, with 24 countries set to compete.

The competition kicks off on June 14 when hosts Germany face Scotland in the tournament opener.

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