Shaqiri makes his mark but unable to enjoy his moment
ST ETIENNE, France (Reuters) - Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri finally made his mark at Euro 2016 with an astonishing goal but was unable to savour the moment as they were knocked out by Poland on penalties on Saturday.
The diminutive playmaker, who described his goal as beautiful, leapt into the air to meet the ball at about head height with his back to goal and sent his shot over his shoulder into the far corner, leaving the stadium stunned.
His 82nd minute goal, which cancelled out Jakub Blaszczykowski's first-half goal and forced extra time, immediately started comparisons with others of a similar style.
It was reminiscent of a strike by Rivaldo for Barcelona against Valencia when the Brazilian controlled a pass on his chest with his back to goal and volleyed the ball over his head into the net.
A similar goal was scored in less glamorous surroundings by Trevor Sinclair for Queens Park Rangers against Barnsley when he volleyed home a cross despite having his back to goal.
Shaqiri, who scored a hat-trick against Honduras at the World Cup two years ago, had struggled to make an impact in France until that moment, showing only flashes of his talent.
In fact, he had tried a similar effort in the 1-1 draw against Romania but made a real hash of it, sending his shot high and wide.
But his goal proved to be in vain as the match finished 1-1 after extra time and Poland won 5-4 in the shootout after an awful miss by Granit Xhaka with Switzerland's second penalty.
"It is instinct and belief because you have to really be convinced when you throw yourself at a ball like that," said Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic.
"You have to try and strike it towards goal, and you also need a little bit of luck in instances like these. Unfortunately, we lacked that rub of the green elsewhere."
Stoke City forward Shaqiri added: "It was a great goal but ultimately it didn't prove much use.
“My goal pushed the team more, it was an important goal for me. It was a beautiful goal and I am always proud to score for my country, but we are out and I am disappointed.”
(Reporting by John Geddie; writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)