If Poland ever needed a decisive contribution from a player who proved his magic to them, it was on Wednesday in St Petersburg for their final Euro 2020 group stage match against Sweden.
But there was only so much impact that Robert Lewandowski could make in a must-win game for his side, even if he scored two goals.
After a record-breaking season in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski raised his tally in the tournament to three goals as Poland sought survival, but in the end, lost 3-2 to the Swedes to finish last in Group E. .
The dependence on Lewandowski’s qualities was very evident from the start, with the 32-year-old captain the man of choice for most of the Poland striker’s forays. The rest of the team was constantly looking for him, hoping to get something magical.
and came close to providing it. Lewandowski trailed with two goals, turning the game almost single-handedly, providing an opportunity to win from behind and advance to the last 16.
The first goal came from nothing as the quick counterattack still left Lewandowski with plenty to do on the left.
but no problem. He set his sights on the radar in the top corner of the goal and put a superb effort into the net to cut the gap in half with half an hour remaining.
Then a clever close-range shot followed, pounced on a defensive foul, looking like he had spent all the time in the world when he was actually just a split second to establish himself and score.
It was Lewandowski’s twelfth goal in his last 13 games, and with six minutes remaining, Poland were on a level playing field, needing one more goal to qualify for the last 16.
But in his quest to move on, with apparent fatigue, he slipped behind and substitute Victor Cleason won the match for Sweden.
Lewandowski tried his best as always, but that wasn’t enough at night.