switzerland euro 2016 poland.jpg
Xherdan Shaqiri (2-L) of Switzerland scores the 1-1 goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Switzerland and Poland at Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne, France, 25 June 2016.
Photograph: EPA/CJ GUNTHER

St Etienne, France (dpa) - When an undisputed star claims that he is nothing without the rest of his team-mates, it is a cliche often met with condescending nods of agreement - but Poland are showing at Euro 2016 that sometimes one great player can also be carried by the other 10.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was the top scorer in Euro qualifying and is undeniably Poland's only world class player. But at Euro 2016 not only has he not scored, his overall contributions have been minimal, regardless of what coach Adam Nawalka claims.

Regardless, Poland survived a penalty shoot-out with Switzerland following a 1-1 draw in the last 16 Saturday and now look ahead to a first-ever Euro quarter-final with Portugal in Marseille on Thursday.

"Robert Lewandowski is doing phenomenal work for this team, he's an incredibly important player for this side," Nawalka said after the Switzerland game. "Both mentally and in football terms, he helps us to be stronger.

"Most important is the victory for the whole team and Robert Lewandowski is part of it."

The coach could hardly be expected to throw his superstar under the bus for his below par performances but not only is Lewandowski not scoring, he is not even getting opportunities.

He had only a single-half chance against Switzerland, created by himself with quick feet in the box, which he poked straight into the arms of keeper Yann Sommer.

And there is evidence his goal drought is affecting other parts of his game - on more than one occasion he hesitated in playing a final pass when the chance was there to set up team-mates to shoot at goal.

"Robert Lewandowski is giving and creating other chances for other players, opening space, creating positions for them," Nawalka insisted. "He takes the opponent's attention from other players, it's great work.

"And I'm confident and sure the break will happen in the next match. And then let the opponents be afraid."

Winger Jakub Blaszczykowski netted against the Swiss and another striker Arkadiusz Milik, though he missed an open goal when Swiss keeper Yann Sommer was pressed into a mistake by Lewandowski after just 60 seconds, was more dangerous than his more illustrious colleague throughout the contest.

"You've got to say that Robert does his job as well," keeper Lukasz Fabianski said. "Even though he's not scoring goals he gives a lot to the team.

"Even in the first minute of the game, we created something from his pressure, that put them under a stressful situation.

"That's what he gives us, even though we're not creating as much as we would like to for him. He's still trying to do his best for the team."

Dropping Lewandowski is not a serious prospect for Nawalka and though the rest of the squad have stepped up, getting his main forward firing again would be a big help towards winning the upcoming clash with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

"We are happy to bring so much pleasure to our fans but now we're thinking of the next match," Nawalka said.

"We're prepared for this match mentally and emotionally, we're high up there and ready for it."

Latest news

Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom protections

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance about the use of school and university bathrooms by transgender students, local media reported.

Several Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested as deadline passes

Several people at a camp protesting against a controversial oil pipeline in the US state of North Dakota were arrested Wednesday after a deadline to vacate the land passed, local media reported.

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.