John Toshack's side had survived a first-half pounding as the hosts fought for the goals and points that would take them to the World Cup finals. The visitors' defence was under almost constant pressure with the Tottenham striker Grzegorz Rasiak at the hub of every attack.
But Wales hung on, their youthful defence stretched almost to breaking point, and with Ryan Giggs and Robert Earnshaw working from scraps up front.
Wales at one stage began to weather the storm and gained more possession. One 60-yard crossfield ball by Giggs found Earnshaw, who brought the ball down and struck it with his left foot but only straight at Artur Boruc.
At the break, Wales brought on Richard Duffy for Rob Edwards, but the wave of Polish attacks resumed. Duffy had produced a perfectly fair, thunderous, tackle to dispossess Kamil Kosowski, but when the Coventry youngster did the same thing after 52 minutes - but this time in the box and with the Pole hurling himself to the ground - the referee, Claus Larsen, pointed to the spot. The Welsh players claimed a dive, and West Ham's Danny Gabbidon stood over the fallen Pole to make the point.
But the kick was soon hit past Danny Coyne by Zurawski. It was testimony to Welsh courage and toil that the scoreline was kept down. Gabbidon was booked on 83 minutes, meaning he is suspended for Wales' next game, in Belfast.
POLAND: Boruc; Jop, Rzasa, Baszczynski, Kosowski (Radomski, 78); Bak, Sobolewski, Smolarek, Szymkowiak; Rasiak (Frankowski, 70), Zurawski. Substitutes not used: Kowalewski (gk), Mila, Zewlakow, Niedzielan, Klos.
WALES: Coyne (Burnley); Edwards (Wolverhampton), Gabbidon (West Ham), Collins (West Ham), Ricketts (Swansea); S Davies (Everton), Koumas (Cardiff), Fletcher (West Ham), Partridge (Bristol City), Giggs (Manchester United); Earnshaw (West Brom). Substitutes: Duffy (Portsmouth) for Edwards, h-t; C Davies (Oxford) for Koumas, 68; Ledley (Cardiff) for Earnshaw, 80; Price (gk, Ipswich). Substitute not used: Roberts (Tranmere); Page (Coventry); Robinson (Sunderland).
Referee: C Larsen (Denmark).
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