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Euro 2016: Poland edge Switzerland in penalty shootout after Granit shocker

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Poland became the first team through to the Quarter-finals of Euro 2016 edging out Switzerland 5-4 on penalties after 120 minutes of football failed to separate the two sides.

Jakub Blaszczyskowski's 39th minute goal had put Poland in the driver's seat only for a late wonderstrike from Xherdan Shaqiri to restore parity in the contest. The Swiss looked the likelier to snatch a winner in extra time, but the match was decided by a solitary penalty miss from new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka, who blazed his effort miles wide.

Switzerland made a near horrific start to the game with former Arsenal reject Johan Djourou playing a blind pass in front of his keeper with an alert Robert Lewandowski quick to latch on. Yann Sommer rushed out to the nullify the immediate threat, but the lose ball made its way over to Arkadiusz Milik, who failed to hit the target.

It took the Swiss over 10 minutes to get over their early nerves, but their adventures forward ran into a strong Poland back five, brilliantly marshaled by holding midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. Meanwhile back up the other end, the goal-less Robert Lewandowski had another sniff at goal, but failed to make a good connection with his effort on goal.

The Swiss' first chance of note fell to Blerim Dzemaili, but his header from a corner was well over. Back up the other end Poland had a corner of their own, with Krychowiak guilty on this occasion of failing to hit the target with a free header.

Chances were coming thick and fast for the Poles, and they were being wasted with unerring precision with Kamil Grosicki and then Milik again guilty of not hitting the target.

Almost as if the sides were taking turns, Fabian Schar, Blerim Dzemaili and Johan Djourou then had chances for the Swiss, two of which were on target, but not really threatening to another former Gunner in Lukasz Fabianski in the Polish goal.

The goal this game had been begging for, finally did arrive in the 39th minute with Jakub Blaszczykowski scoring for the second time in as many games. The Borussia Dortmund winger received the ball from Grosicki, took a good touch before planting it out of reach of Sommer to put Poland 1-0 in front.

While not particularly high on quality there continued to be chances at both ends in the early stages of the second half with Xherdan Shaqiri cutting back onto his left foot and firing a powerful drive straight down the throat of Lukasz Fabianski for the Swiss and Blaszczykowski having a rasping left footed effort turned behind for a corner by Yann Sommer.

The game was also becoming a tad fractious with Schar booked for a tackle on Lewandowski only for Artur Jedrzejczyk to return the favour moments later on Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Chasing an equalizer, Switzerland sent on two forwards in the second half switching to three up top as they became increasingly desperate. One of those newcomers, 19 year old Breel Embolo made his presence felt by leaving a little bit on Lukasz Fabianski as the Polish keeper came out to claim a cross.

Fabianski continued to show his class as the minutes ticked over, producing an excellent save to deny Ricardo Rodriguez's 73rd minute freekick.

With time running out for Switzerland it was their little wizard who came to their rescue, producing a moment of magic to keep them in the Euros. A Ricardo Rodriguez cross from the left was flicked on and then chested down in the region of Shaqiri, who produced the goal of the tournament, going airborne to produce an overhead kick from distance that kissed the inside of the post before nestling into the corner of Fabianski's net.

Both teams had half-chances deep in injury time to snatch a late winner, Milik not doing enough with his freekick, allowing Switzerland to crowd out the Poles before an outrageous attempt from just inside the Polish half from Granit Xhaka was kept out by Fabianski as the match headed into an extra 30 minutes of added time.

The first half of extra time was a dull affair, but the game livened up considerably in the second half with Swiss substitute Derdiyok having a free header from point blank range saved brilliantly by Fabianski, who anticipated the chance perfectly. At the other end, Sommer was rescued by his defenders after a deflection nearly put Blaszczykowski through.

Derdiyok had another half chance as the Swiss dominated the final 10 minutes, but couldn't fashion a winner as Poland were able to force penalties.

The penalty shootout was a tense affair with 9 perfect penalties interspersed by a horror miss from Arsenal bound Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, who shot hard and wide with his effort, resulting in a 5-4 win for Poland, who advance to the quarter-finals where they will face the winner of tonight's last clash between Croatia and Portugal.


Switzerland: Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez, Behrami (Fernandes 77'), Xhaka, Shaqiri, Dzemaili (Embolo 58'), Mehmedi (Derdiyok 70'), Seferovic.

Subs: Hitz, Moubandje, Elvedi, von Bergen, Lang, Embolo, Frei, Zakaria, Fernandes, Tarashaj, Derdiyok, Burki.

Poland: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec 101'), Grosicki (Peszko104', Milik, Lewandowski.

Subs: Szczesny, Jodlowiec, Linetty, Stepinski, Wawrzyniak, Peszko, Salamon, Zielinski, Starzynski, Boruc.

Final Score: Switzerland 1-1 Poland (Blaszczykowski 39', Shaqiri 82')


Switzerland: Lichtsteiner scored, Xhaka missed, Shaqiri scored, Schar scored, Rodriguez scored

Poland: Lewandowski scored, Milik scored, Gilk scored, Blaszczykowski scored, Krychowiak scored