Xhaka’s penalty miss costs Swiss quarterfinal spot after Shaqiri’s magic
Granit Xhaka’s woeful spot-kick proved decisive as Poland beat Switzerland 5-4 on penalties to render Xherdan Shaqiri’s sublime strike redundant in a 1-1 draw after extra time.
With Switzerland trailing 1-0 courtesy of Jakub Blaszczykowski’s 39th-minute strike, Shaqiri produced a brilliantly executed bicycle kick to stun Poland and force an additional 30 minutes.
However, if Shaqiri’s strike is now the standout contender for goal of the tournament, team-mate Xhaka’s missed penalty was at the opposite end of the quality spectrum, the new Arsenal signing smashing his strike well wide of the target with Switzerland’s second effort to leave them playing catch-up.
Grzergorz Krychowiak made no mistake with his chance to wrap up the victory, burying his shot beyond Yann Sommer and sending Poland into the last eight for the first time.
Poland dominated early on Saint-Etienne, but the pressure had been building prior to the 82nd-minute equaliser – Ricardo Rodriguez drawing a fantastic save from Lukasz Fabianski with a free-kick, while Haris Seferovic rattled the crossbar.
But it was Poland who were ultimately celebrating and they will now face the winner of the clash between Croatia and Portugal.
The anthems had barely finished when a Swiss defensive mix-up led to a chance for Robert Lewandowski.