Poland have qualified for the quarter finals of Euro 2016 after defeating Switzerland 5-4 on penalties.
This was a game of sharply contrasting halves. Both sides had progressed from the group stage of this competition for the first time but there was little even about the opening exchanges. The tone was set inside 30 seconds, when Arkadiusz Milik scooped a glorious opportunity over an unguarded net for Poland after a horrible mix-up between Yann Sommer and Johan Djourou.
The busy Milik quickly had a clutch of other chances – he was most culpable when slashing a shot wide at the far post after Blaszczykowski found him – and there were animated discussions on the pitch between various Swiss players after an opening 20 minutes in which Poland totally dominated.
Switzerland created fleeting moments of their own, and Fabian Schär headed one clear chance straight at Lukasz Fabianski. The problem was that every time they lost the ball in the opposition half, they were struggling to contain a counter-attack seconds later. One of those fast breaks finally undid Switzerland as the half entered its closing stages. Milik smartly dummied and Blaszczykowski was in plenty of space at the back post to slot under Sommer to give Poland a 1-0 lead.
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Switzerland had their own goalscoring challenges, with just two in their three group games, and Petkovic had added two more strikers to his original one by the 70th minute, with Breel Embolo and Eren Derdiyok joining Haris Seferovic.It looked as if time was running out but then Shaqiri produced a moment of real magic. The Stoke midfielder pirouetted in mid-air and sent a breathtaking bicycle kick right into the corner of Fabianski’s goal, celebrating with an only marginally-less acrobatic somersault.
The game eventually went to penalties and Poland won 5-4 with Arsenal new signing the guilty player, missing his spotkick.