“Red Dragon” Wales roared into the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, creating their best result in a major soccer tournament since 1958 World Cup. Poland booked their first quarterfinal berth in the Euro history, and all the three Round of 16 matches played on Saturday were tight, featuring penalty shootout, own goal or late goal as tiebreakers.
The first duel of Round of 16 kicked off in Saint Etienne. Poland defeated Switzerland 5-4 on penalty shootout.
Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, who plays for Arsenal, became the only one out of the 10 penalty takers to miss the kick.
The two sides tied 1-1 after the regular time and both failed to score in the extra time.
Poland took the lead after 39 minutes, with winger Jakub Blaszczykowski sliding the ball past Swiss keeper Yann Sommer from close range.
Xherdan Shaqiri made it 1-1 in the 82nd minute with a stunning overhead kick from 18 meters. It is expected to be one of the top goals in Euro 2016.
The second duel was in paris. Northern Ireland’s defender Gareth McAuley scored an own goal to help Wales win the match 1-0.
Gareth McAuley stuck out his leg and tried to clear Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale’s pass from the left wing in the 75th minute, but hit the ball into his own net.
Wales will play against Hungary or Belgium in the quarterfinals.
The third duel was played in Lens between Croatia, who beat defending champions Spain 2-1 to top Group D, and Portugal, who finished third in Group F with three draws and the only team entering Round of 16 without a win.
Ricardo Quaresma scored in late extra time to gift Portugal a 1-0 win over Croatia.
Portugal will face Poland in the quarterfinals in Marseille on Thursday.
The tough and tight duel witnessed a goalless draw after regular time and was expected to go into another penalty shootout.
The 32-year-old Besiktus forward Quaresma, who came from the bench in the 87th minute, captured the last chance in the 117th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo’s close-range shot was denied by Croatian keeper Danijel Subasic. Quaresma was on hand to knock the rebound into the empty net.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos said, “This’s a very tight match, very attacking football. We respect each other. Today we are the lucky side. we are going to have tough game against Poland in five days.”
Statistics showed that Croatia made 15 attempts in the whole game but not a single shot was on target. Portugal made five attempts, two on target. During the regular time, both sides made 15 attempts altogether, which all missed target. Quaresma’s goal was the first shot on target by either side.
This game mad Luis Cuneha Nani become the fourth player to win 100 caps for Portugal.