It took 120 minutes plus kicks, but Poland has advanced to the EURO 2016 quarterfinals with a 1-1 (5-4) win over Switzerland in Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
In kicks, new Arsenal man Granit Xhaka shanked his shot wide left for Switzerland and Poland converted all five of its opportunities.
It was going to take something special to breach a Poland defense that had no conceded in the tournament, and Xherdan Shaqiri found it with an astonishing goal.
Jakub Blaszczykowski’s goal looked to be all Poland would need, but the side played a much more set back second frame and needed Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to make several big stops.
Poland will get the winner of the 3 p.m. ET match-up between Croatia and Portugal.
Poland should’ve really been up before the match was 30 seconds old, but Arkadiusz Milik sent a 18-yard shot over a wide open goal.
Chances were there at both ends, though the danger and possession certainly rested with Poland.
Oddly enough, it was a counter that got Poland on the board. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski seized a ball in the air and urgently fired the ball down the left flank to Kamil Grosicki, whose cross bounced toward a wide open Blaszczykowski. He did not miss the chance.
The way Poland’s defense has performed, that could’ve been enough.
The Swiss came out of the halftime break with desperation. It paid off in chances, but also opened the game up for Poland on the break. Blaszczykowski was denied by Jan Sommer in the 54th minute to keep it 1-0.
Ricardo Rodriguez remained one of the star men for Switzerland, and forced Fabianski into a tremendous save on an arrow of a free kick in the 73rd minute. Haris Seferovic then hammered a shot off the cross bar in the 79th.
The match headed to extra time, and the best chance came in the second 15 minutes when Fabianski pawed away a Eren Derdiyok header of a smooth Shaqiri cross.