Euro: Now or never for rivals Shaqiri, Lewandowski

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Euro: Now or never for rivals Shaqiri, Lewandowski
Poland's star striker Robert Lewandowski has yet to find the back of the net in France.

Toulouse - They have yet to produce performances that match their billing as their teams' most creative players, and get on the scoresheet for the first time

By Agencies

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Published: Fri 24 Jun 2016, 3:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 25 Jun 2016, 1:00 AM

Poland forward Robert Lewandowski and Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, who have yet to shine at Euro 2016, will have another chance to brighten up the tournament when their teams clash in St Etienne in the last 16 on Saturday.
Although neither player has had an especially bad tournament, they have yet to produce performances that match their billing as their teams' most creative players, and get on the scoresheet for the first time.
Lewandowski made it six international matches without scoring when he missed an early chance in their 1-0 win over Ukraine.
However, he still worked hard in attack and was always getting in position to receive the ball so there are no real concerns about his form.
"He has a lot of influence on the way we play," said coach Adam Nawalka. "He is an incredibly important player for us. He is our engine, like a locomotive and he provides us with power."
Similarly, Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic is unconcerned that Shaqiri, who scored a hat trick against Honduras in the World Cup two years ago, has not shown off his dribbling or long-range shooting skills.
"Individualists are having a tough time at his tournament," said Petkovic, "I'm satisfied that Xherdan is not an individualist at the moment, but a team player. He gives everything for the team and that's what he should keep doing. When the team goes well, everyone profits." There are no clear favourites between two technically gifted sides who have both progressed beyond the group stage of the competition for the first time. Both have struggled for goals, however, scoring only twice each in three matches.
Switzerland have got better as the tournament has gone on and dominated possession when they held hosts France to a 0-0 draw in their final group game on Sunday to qualify. Poland went through their group without conceding a goal, coming second behind Germany, and gave the impression that they had an extra gear to move into.
"We want to stick to our tried and tested philosophy and prepare for the game as normal," said Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner.
"We've looked at Poland and analysed them, but we want to focus on our own qualities. If we play to our potential on Saturday we'll be a very difficult opponent for Poland."
Poland's disciplined defenders, though, have proved reliable.
The center back pairing of Kamil Glik and Michal Pazdan excelled in the 0-0 draw with Germany and Pazdan turned in another inspirational display when Poland were pinned back by Ukraine.
"There is not a single team we can't compete with," Pazdan said. "Four years have gone by since Euro 2012. I've changed as a player and the team has changed too. We've improved a lot." Switzerland will also be making their maiden appearance in the knockout round at a European Championship, with a team boasting the same defensive qualities as Poland.
Fabian Schaer and Johan Djourou make a solid center back pairing, while keeper Yann Sommer turned in a man of the match performance in the 0-0 draw against host nation France. Arsenal's new recruit Granit Xhaka bosses the midfield, but like Poland, Switzerland have only scored twice at the tournament. 

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