Shaqiri's wonder goal not enough as Poland beat Switzerland on penalties to reach Euro 2016 quarter-finals Competition | Nigeria sports news, transfers & gossips
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Shaqiri’s wonder goal not enough as Poland beat Switzerland on penalties to reach Euro 2016 quarter-finals

Poland have progressed through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 after they edged out Switzerland in a penalty shootout in Saint-Etienne.

After the game had ended in a 1-1 draw, new Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka blazed the ball wide for Switzerland and that proved to be the only miss as Poland set up a last-eight showdown with either Croatia or Portugal.

With less than a minute on the clock, Poland should have taken the lead when a mix-up in the Switzerland defence gave Arkadiusz Milik the chance to convert into an empty net from 20 yards but the striker fired his effort over the crossbar.

Switzerland responded with a miscued effort from Blerim Dzemaili at the near post but the first half belonged to Poland and they could have taken the lead three times during a five-minute spell but Grzegorz Krychowiak, Kamil Grosicki and Milik all failed to hit the target from inside the penalty area.

Their opponents rallied and saw a deflected effort from Dzemaili tipped over the crossbar by Lukasz Fabianski but a minute later, Poland went in front through Jakub Blaszczykowski, who rolled the ball through Yann Sommer‘s leg from 10 yards after being found by Grosicki.

Both teams returned for the second half with the intention of throwing men forward with Robert Lewandowski almost finding the top corner from just inside the penalty area and Xherdan Shaqiri forcing a decent save out of Fabianski.

Moments later, Blaszczykowski drifted inside before unleashing a thunderous effort that was dealt with by Sommer but that was the last of the opportunities for quarter of an hour as late challenges went in from all angles.

However, the final 20 minutes belonged to Switzerland, who first had Ricardo Rodriguez have a free kick tipped over the crossbar by Fabianski before Haris Seferovic struck the crossbar from 16 yards.

The moment of the match – and maybe the tournament – came with eight minutes of normal time remaining as Shaqiri attempted a scissor kick on the edge of the area and after connecting sweetly with his left foot, his shot found the bottom corner via the aid of the post.

After that moment of magic, the chances dried up and that continued in the opening period of extra time as Poland seemed content to defend as they struggled with the tempo set by Switzerland.

During the second half of extra time, Switzerland got Shaqiri on the ball as much as possible and his pass for Eren Derdiyok almost set up the winning goal but the striker’s head was too close to Fabianski.

The game, almost inevitably, went to penalties where Switzerland midfielder Xhaka produced the only wayward spot kick of the 10 attempts, with Krychowiak netting the decisive kick to put Poland through to the last eight of the tournament for the first time.

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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