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Published: 16:49 | 25/6/16

Poland beat Swiss on penalties

Arsenal's Xhaka crucially misses spot-kick

Poland beat Switzerland 5-4 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw in Saint-Etienne, to book a quarter-final berth at the European Championships.

Jakub Blaszczykowski finished off a quick counterattack to give Poland the lead at the interval but a spectacular strike from Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri ensured that extra time was required.

Switzerland substitute Eren Derdiyok missed two fine chances in the second of the additional periods.

The Swiss were made to pay in the shootout, as new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka’s wild strike proved costly, with Grzegorz Krychowiak converting the penalty that confirmed Poland’s progression.

Adam Nawalka’s troops go on to meet either Croatia or Portugal in the last eight of the tournament in Marseille on Thursday.

At the very beginning of the clash at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, the Swiss almost gifted Poland a goal through a poor Johan Djourou back-pass. Yann Sommer, however, denied Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik fired the rebound over the crossbar.

The Poles should have scored just prior to the half-hour, as the unmarked Krychowiak headed wide from eight yards.

With the chances continuing to come for Poland, Kamil Grosicki shot a dipping effort over the top and Milik struck high and wide from the corner of the six-yard box.

Blaszczykowski, though, was successful with six minutes off the first half remaining, slipping a side-footed effort under Sommer after Kamil Grosicki had taken advantage of good fortune to fire a square pass that was dummied to the eventual goal-scorer by Milik.

Switzerland had enjoyed sights of goal prior to Blaszczykowski’s finish, most notably when Blerim Dzemaili turned a decent opportunity off target and Fabian Schar headed straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

The Swiss started the second half very brightly but, with his side being adventurous, Sommer was forced into good saves from Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Haris Seferovic both went very close to levelling, the Wolfsburg man’s almost ideally placed free-kick tipped over by Fabianski before the Eintracht Frankfurt striker hit the crossbar with a powerful effort.

The equaliser arrived in the 82nd minute through a stunning strike from Shaqiri, who acrobatically produced a superbly placed effort from the edge of the penalty area that bounced in off the post, following substitute Breel Embolo’s cross.

Both sides threatened at the death, prior to a highly reserved and cautious first period of extra time.

The Swiss were by far the more dangerous in the second period, and Derdiyok seemed set to net a header from Shaqiri’s fantastic delivery, only for Fabianski to produce an excellent stop.

Derdiyok had another good chance but, under pressure from Seferovic’s low cross, he could not generate the requisite power on his close-range effort.

In the shootout, immediately after Xhaka had sliced his strike well wide of the target, Sommer very nearly kept out Milik’s spot-kick.

The Poles, however, found the net with all five of their efforts, securing a spot in the quarter-finals at the expense of the heartbroken Swiss.

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