Euro 2016 round up: Switzerland 1 (4) Poland 1 (5)- and what the result means

Poland's players celebrate their team's win.
Poland's players celebrate their team's win.PHOTO: AFP

The first Round of 16 match of Euro 2016 went all the way to penalties and while there were plenty of hard tackles, tidbits of entertainment, joy for the Poles and despair for the Swiss, this game will be remembered for a moment of sheer brilliance by the man with those tree trunk legs.

With the Swiss never scoring from open play at the tournament prior to this match and the Poles buoyed by a 0-0 draw with world champions Germany, it is the Eastern European side who looked dominant in the first-half.

Wide midfielders Kamil Grosicki and Jakub Blaszczykowski dominated the flanks and caused all sorts of problems before combining in the 39th minute for the latter to drill a low shot home between Yann Sommer's legs.

But the Swiss re-appeared for the second-half more fired-up. They were more aggressive and physical, with Robert Lewandowski singled out for "special" treatment and he spent so much time eating grass that he was mistaken for cattle.

With eight minutes left, Xherdan Shaqiri produced one of the goals of Euro 2016 with a sensational scissors kick that gave goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski no chance at all to take the game into extra-time.

 
 
 

Both teams looked tired and in the ensuing shoot-out, Granit Xhaka was the only one who missed for Switzerland and that ultimately proved costly as Poland won 5-4 to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time ever.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

- The lively Grosicki stormed down the left, picking up a Fabianski throw in the 39th minute. He squared the ball for Blaszczykowski, who hammered it between Sommer's legs for a cheeky goal.

- A headed clearance from Poland landed on the edge of their penalty box and the lurking Shaqiri launched himself acrobatically to connect perfectly with a scissors kick. The Stoke City attacking midfielder did not even wait for the ball to bounce first. It was absolutely world-class technique.

- In the final five minutes of extra-time, Swiss forward Eren Derdiyok had two glorious opportunities to grab the win. But his diving header was parried and with only the goalkeeper to beat, he fumbled in possession.

THE TALKING POINT

With just two goals, both from corner kicks, the Swiss were desperately seeking to score one from open play and when the goal came, it grabbed all the headlines.

Shaqiri's scissors kick will be replayed on television and YouTube for ages to come and in an average match, it surely was the biggest talking point.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Shaqiri had been quiet in the group stages and looked set for another dull performance against the Poles until his moment of inspiration.

He looked a different player after his rocket of a strike as he darted between Polish defenders, pulled off tricks and flicks and was the Swiss' most likely source of a match-winning strike.

Eventually, the winner did not arrive but Shaqiri certainly had illuminated St Etienne with his goal. It is arguably the best volleyed goal at the Euros since Marco van Basten's piledriver against the former Soviet Union in the 1988 final.

WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

Poland march on to the quarter-finals, where they will meet either Portugal or Croatia on Friday (3am Singapore time).

KEY STATISTIC

Zero. Although Robert Lewandowski finally got his first shot on target at Euro 2016, a wild swing of the ball that was easily saved in the 18th minute, he is still without a goal at the tournament.

Acclaimed as one of the world's top strikers, he scored for fun at Borussia Dortmund, he scores for fun for Bayern Munich and Poland. He top-scored in the qualifiers with 13. But he has been woeful in France.

If Poland wants to go any further in the competition, they need their main man to rediscover his touch. Pronto.

WHAT THEY SAID

Poland coach Adam Nawalka: "We were prepared for this kind of battle. The Swiss are a world-class side and it was no surprise that they came storming back in the second half. But the important thing is that my team showed potential after conceding the equaliser. We are mentally prepared for the quarter-final match in Marseille on Thursday."

Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri: "It's a great disappointment, we could have achieved something very big. It was a beautiful goal and I am always proud to score for my country, but we are out."