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Poland cruise into Euro 2016 quarters

By The Assam Tribune

PARIS, June 25: Poland reached the quarterfinals of Euro 2016 after beating Switzerland 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday as Jakob Blaszczykowski proved again he has the midas touch.

Borussia Dortmund winger Blaszczykowski gave Poland a first-half lead in the last-16 clash before Xherdan Shaqiri's spectacular second-half bicycle kick levelled for Switzerland.

It finished 1-1 after normal time, and then extra time, at Saint-Etienne�s Stade Geoffrey Guichard.

Blaszczykowski, nicknamed �Kuba�, drilled home his spot kick in the shoot-out.

Arsenal-bound Granit Xhaka was at fault as his wild kick flew wide with the Swiss' second effort as Poland nailed all five kicks.

The result meant Poland preserve their record of never having lost in 18 games when Blaszczykowski has scored.

The Poles will now play either Portugal or Croatia in a quarterfinal in Marseille on Thursday.

It was a historic occasion for both sides as neither had ever even reached the knockout stages of a Euro finals.

But despite his success in converting in the penalty shootout, Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer in qualifying with 13 goals, remains without a regular goal in France.

However the Bayern Munich striker constantly dropped back into midfield to run Poland�s attack.

The Poles dominated the first half, while the Swiss ruled the second.

Poland squandered a gold-plated chance in the opening minute as a lazy pass from Swiss full-back Johan Djourou fell into Lewandowski's path.

The star striker enticed Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer off his line, but Arkadiusz Milik fired over with the goal at his mercy.

At the other end, Blerim Dzemaili, then Admir Mehmedi had chances for the Swiss before Fabian Schaer headed straight at Lukasz Fabianski. � Agencies

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