Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Xherdan Shaqiri said Arsenal-bound Granit Xhaka can cope with Euro 2016 heartache after his penalty miss sent Poland into the quarter-finals at Switzerland’s expense on Saturday.
Xhaka, who will join the Gunners after the European Championship finals, sent Switzerland’s second penalty wide while Poland nailed all five kicks to seal a 5-4 win in the shoot-out.
“He’s disappointed, but that’s football and mistakes can happen,” said stocky Stoke City winger Shaqiri who was man-of-the-match which was 1-1 after extra-time.
Shaqiri’s spectacular second-half bicycle kick equaliser saw the Swiss draw level after Jakob Blaszczykowski gave the Poles an early lead.
He said Xhaka, for whom Arsenal paid Borussia Moenchengladbach a reported 35 million euros ($38.9million), can handle the hurt.
“I think Granit is very professional and he can cope with it,” said Shaqiri.
Shaqiri is backing Xhaka to bounce back to help the Swiss qualify for, then play at, the World Cup finals in Russia in two years time.
“Granit will stand up again and I think by the round of the last 16 of the World Cup, he will score again for us,” said Shaqiri.
Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic said he felt for Xhaka, but the defeat hurt more.
“I’m very sad for him, but it’s not just about him, it’s disappointing as the Swiss players gave everything,” said Petkovic.
“We weren’t clinical enough and as a result of the lottery of the penalty shoot-out, if you miss one, it can be crucial.”
Shaqiri said the man-of-the-match award for his stunning goal — arguably the strike of the tournament so far — meant little after defeat.
After the Swiss bowed out at the same stage of the 2014 World Cup to Argentina, Shaqiri said it hurts to again miss out again two years after Brazil.
“What can I say, we’re very disappointed, we could have achieved something very big, we had our chances, but we had to learn form this,” said the Stoke winger.
“We had the same situation against Argentina, we’re proud of the way we played.
“We gave 150 percent and we would have deserved to advance, but penalties are 50/50 and that’s football.”
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