Celtic striker Patryk Klimala has been left with a gutting blow after a UEFA decision robbed him of a spot at the under-21 European Championships with Poland next year.
The young Poles were looking like being one of the five best-placed runners-up to qualify for the tournament alongside the qualification group winners.
However, UEFA punished Armenia for failing to play their games against Sweden and Iceland due to the pandemic. 3-0 wins were awarded to either side, which leaves Iceland on 21 points in second when it comes to their own group.
That 3-0 win trickled the Icelandics a point ahead of Klimala’s Poland, meaning the Celtic striker’s side finished the campaign as the sixth-best runner-up – meaning he misses out on the Euros by a solitary point (UEFA).
Klimala scored in Poland’s last under-21 match against Latvia which looked like it had initially secured a place at next year’s Euros.
A sickner for the Hoops man
There’s no other way to dress it up – this is a gutter for the Celtic star. A spot at Euro 2021 would’ve been great for him, and could’ve been exactly what he needed to catch the eye of Neil Lennon once again.
Klimala’s game-time in Glasgow has dried up recently, and he hasn’t played since the 3-1 defeat to AC Milan over a month ago. Instead, Lennon has chosen Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths, and Albian Ajeti respectively.
Edouard is one of the Celtic starlets who will be plying his trade at next year’s Euros after qualifying comfortably with France. However, he won’t see his Celtic team-mate at it despite the Poles having an impressive qualifying campaign.
Had the pandemic not kicked in, Klimala would’ve had the safety net of a Euro qualification playoff. The initial format was to ensure that only the best runner-up qualified along with the group winners, with the eight other second-placed sides drawn into playoff matches.
But those four spots were instead given to the next best-placed runners-up due to the pandemic. You can’t help but taste the injustice, especially for a Polish side that managed to play all 10 of their qualifying games without any being cancelled. They did their bit.
Unfortunately, it’s not to be for Klimala though, and he’ll have to get his head down quickly and turn his attention back to the domestic scene.