Poland are through to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals following a victory over Switzerland on Saturday in Saint-Etienne. The match went the distance after a 1-1 deadlock following goals from Jakub Blaszczykowski and a stunner from Xherdan Shaqiri. Poland then just edged past their opponents 5-4 on penalties. Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka missed the crucial penalty for his side.
Adam Nawalka's side will now take on either Portugal or Croatia in the next round.
Poland made a stunning start to the match, giving Switzerland custodian Yann Sommer all sorts of troubles from early on. The first real chance of the game came in as early as in the first minute as Arkadiusz Milik had a go on the goal, but his shot was horribly wide. Kamil Grosicki remained a lethal figure on the left flank for Poland, playing out several crosses and defence-splitting passes, one of which found Milik once again in the sixth minute, but the striker's header was caught straight by Sommer.
The first half started with incredible pace with both sides ready to go for the kill and willing to change their poor form in front of the goal. Switzerland, on their part, also created quite many attacking opportunities in the attacking third. Stoke City's Shaqiri remained a lively figure in the flanks but the likes of Blerim Dzemaili and Haris Seferovic couldn't really get that punch from their final shots.
Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak remained a spectacle, as the 26-year-old Sevilla playmaker was performing his job with elan, playing out well-calculated long and short passes and connecting the defence with the attacking line with ease. The goal finally came for Poland in the 39th minute as the never-tiring Grosicki made a great run down the flank and picked out Blaszczykowski with a great vision. The former Borussia Dortmund winger used all his composure to lash a shot in the bottom corner of the net, well past Sommer.
Poland started the second half well as they played neat passes among themselves and Shaqiri was also taking chances. The Stoke City midfielder had a go on goal in the 50th minute as his powerful drive from 25 yards saw Lukasz Fabianski just parry the ball away. The former Arsenal goalkeeper was at his very best once again in the 73rd minute as he brilliant parried tipped away a great freekick from Switzerland leftback Ricardo Rodriguez.
Blaszczykowski continued being lively in the second half as well as one of his trademark dribbling and cutting in shots taken with his swinger in the 53rd minute was just cleared away by Sommer.
Vladimir Petkovic's side had to wait until the 82nd minute to get that much-needed goal and who else, but Shaqiri. The 24-year-old attempted an acrobatic bicycle kick from just the edge of the box and believe it or not, the ball struck the woodwork and blasted the side of the net. The equaliser finally arrived.
The match went into the extra time but not much of action could be seen from either of the side. Having said that, Switzerland came so close to scoring the winning goal late in the second half of the additional minutes but Fabianski yet again made another world-class save to deny Eren Derdiyok a headed goal.
The game went into penalties after the 1-1 deadlock even after extra time. All five penalty takers of Poland scored, but it was new Arsenal recruit Granit Xhaka who had to take the brunt for his team's exit from the tournament as his penalty kick for Switzerland went horribly wide of the goal.