Xherdan Shaqiri stunner not enough as Poland hold nerve

Switzerland out of Euro 2016 after losing on penalties following a drab last-16 opener

 Poland players celebrate their penalty shoot-out win over Switzerland in Saint-Etienne. Photograph: Getty

Poland players celebrate their penalty shoot-out win over Switzerland in Saint-Etienne. Photograph: Getty

 

Switzerland 1 Poland 1 (Poland win 5-4 on penalties)

Poland reached their first-ever European Championship quarter-final with a penalty shoot-out victory over Switzerland.

A Jakub Blaszczykowski strike had looked to be enough in normal time for Poland only for Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri to make it 1-1 with a tremendous athletic volley to send the game into extra-time.

With no winning goal found, the tie was decided on penalties with new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka missing and Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak hammering home the winning penalty as Poland scored all five efforts.

Poland should have been ahead inside 30 seconds when Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer bowled the ball out to Johan Djourou who passed it back across his box, only for Robert Lewandowski to pounce.

Sommer did enough to nick the ball off the toe of the Bayern Munich forward but it fell to Arkadiusz Milik, who could only fire over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

The game lacked any real quality and Poland missed another good chance when Krychowiak headed over a corner just before the half-hour mark when completely free inside the box.

Moments later Kamil Grosicki and Milik wasted further good chances for Poland, with Switzerland getting a rare effort on goal but Fabian Schar’s header was easily saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

The Swansea stopper was then forced to tip a deflected Blerim Dzemaili strike behind for a corner from which Poland broke forward to open the scoring.

With six minutes to go before the break, Grosicki led a counter-attack which was swept home by Blaszczykowski to give Adam Nawalka’s side a deserved half-time lead.

Shaqiri looked to give Switzerland a strong start to the second half as he burst into the box before seeing his cross cleared behind, with Poland defender Michal Pazdan almost turning the resulting corner into his own goal.

Blaszczykowski came close to adding a second as he cut inside before hammering in an effort which Sommer pushed away.

Switzerland began to push forward and Fabianski made a great save from Ricardo Rodriguez’s free-kick as Poland continued to defend their clean sheet.

Haris Seferovic had been very quiet in attack for the Swiss but he came close to levelling as his effort from 12 yards crashed against the crossbar.

Their change of emphasis finally paid off as Shaqiri’s acrobatic scissor-kick from the edge of the box beat Fabianski to equalise with eight minutes remaining.

Neither side could find a winner in the closing stages with some players showing signs of tiredness as referee Mark Clattenburg blew the full-time whistle to signal a period of extra-time.

The first 15 minutes of extra-time followed suit as there were no clear-cut chances for either side and Fabianski again made a good save in the second period, pushing out substitute Eren Derdiyok’s effort after he had been found by the impressive Shaqiri.

No winning goal was forthcoming and the first round of 16 tie was decided on penalties, with captain Stephan Lichtsteiner tucking away the opener for Switzerland.

Poland skipper Lewandowski was next and converted with aplomb before new Arsenal signing Xhaka blazed wide.

Milik put Poland in charge despite Sommer getting a hand to his kick, with Shaqiri scoring next for the Swiss.

Kamil Glik, Schar and Blaszczykowski all scored to put the pressure on Rodriguez, with the full-back tucking his spot-kick away only for Krychowiak to bury the decider and take Poland through.

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