Poland beat Ukraine 1-0 to Reach Last 16 of Euro 2016
Jakub Blaszczykowski’s strike helps Poland clinch last 16 spot for the first time in European championship
Poland reached the knockout stage of the European Championship for the first time when Jakub Blaszczykowski’s second-half goal beat already-eliminated Ukraine 1-0 on Tuesday and secured second place in Group C and a last-16 meeting with Switzerland.
Poland had started strongly but appeared to be settling for the draw that would also have guaranteed their progress until Blaszczykowski struck nine minutes after joining the fray as a halftime substitute.
The result left Poland on seven points, second in the group on goal difference to Germany, who beat Northern Ireland 1-0. The huge following of Poland in the Stade Velodrome celebrated long and loud after the humiliation of four years ago when they finished bottom of their group when co-hosting the tournament.
Ukraine looked shell-shocked in the starting minutes but unlike in their previous two 2-0 defeats against Germany and Northern Ireland, they settled down, got stuck in. But Poland then packed their midfield and sat deep and although it allowed Ukraine to have more possession, unleash a few pot-shots and force some desperate last-ditch Polish tackles, they never really threatened an equaliser.
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