The Switzerland forward scored the goal of the tournament against Poland on Saturday, jumping with his back to the net before sending a left-footed volley inside the post from near the edge of the area.
The goal made it 1-1 in the 82nd minute, but Poland managed to win a 5-4 in a penalty shootout and advance to the European Championship quarterfinals.
“It was (a) beautiful (goal), but at the end we are out,” said Shaqiri, a 24-year-old Stoke midfielder who was named man of the match in a losing effort. “It’s a great disappointment. We could have achieved something very big. We had the chances.”
Things could have been different for Shaqiri and Switzerland, which has not won a knockout match at a major competition since the 1938 World Cup.
The Swiss had several chances in the match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, but poor finishing again let them down.
Down 1-0 at halftime, Shaqiri set the tone by creating opportunities immediately after the restart. He made Poland’s defenders look slow as they scrambled to disrupt his repeated incursions into the area with his lightening quick feet.
His team rallied behind him and pinned Poland down. After Ricardo Rodriguez’s free kick tested goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic sent on Breel Embolo to join Haris Seferovic up front. But Embolo shot weakly when the ball fell to him in the area, and seconds later Seferovic curled the rebound off the crossbar.
Shaqiri, however, came through with his remarkable equalizer, leveling the score and giving the Swiss a chance as they pressed to complete the turnaround.
“(Shaqiri’s goal) was instinct and belief, because you have to be convinced when you throw yourself at a ball like that,” Petkovic said. “And you also need a bit of luck, which, unfortunately, we lacked elsewhere.”
Switzerland did have another good chance to score late in extra time, but substitute Eren Derdiyok’s point-blank header was saved by Fabianski.
The misses summed up Switzerland’s Euro 2016. None of the team’s three goals in four matches came from forwards.
“My players gave everything and showed what they can do on the pitch, but, unfortunately, we made mistakes,” Petkovic said. “We weren’t clinical enough and we paid for it.”