Saturday’s Round of 16 matches started with Switzerland v Poland. Wales v Northern Ireland was up next, and the day ended with Croatia v Portugal.
Saturday 25 June 2016:
Stade Goeffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne: Switzerland 1 (4) – 1 (5) Poland
Man of the Match: Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
The first of the unexciting matches was between Poland and Switzerland. The shots started early, with Lewandowski getting one away in the first minute. Poland dominated early but couldn’t finish. Switzerland had their chances as well, but it was Poland that struck in the 39th minute. Kuba received the pass from Grosicki and finished well from close range. The half ended with Poland ahead. It was still an incredibly boring game after the start of the second half. Switzerland earned a free kick that was taken very well by Rodriguez, but Fabianski made an excellent save. In the 82nd minute, Shaqiri brought Switzerland level with an amazing bicycle kick. When the match went to extra time, neither team could get that goal and it went to penalties. On a miss from Granit Xhaka, Switzerland found themselves knocked out despite Shaqiri’s goal of the tournament.
Lichsteiner – Goal Lewandowski – Goal
Xhaka – Miss Milik – Goal
Shaqiri – Goal Glik – Goal
Schar – Goal Kuba – Goal
Rodriguez – Goal Krychowiak – Goal
Parc des Princes, Paris: Wales 1 – 0 Northern Ireland
Man of the Match: Gareth Bale (Wales)
This was a tough one to pick. I went with Wales, though I wouldn’t have been upset at a Northern Ireland win. I just felt Wales looked the better team. There were some scary moments for the Welsh defense. But it was not easy to tell which team would come out on top for the first minutes. Ramsey put it in the net in the 19th minute, but he was flagged offside. The half ended scoreless. There were plenty of free kicks at the beginning of the second half. It wasn’t until the 75th minute that Bale got the ball in the corner and played in a dangerous cross that McAuley directed into the net. It was an own goal against Northern Ireland. I don’t think any of us really wanted to see that. After 4 minutes of added time, Wales make their way to the next round.
Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens Agglo: Croatia – Portugal
Man of the Match: Renato Sanches (Portugal)
I felt relatively neutral on this one, but I thought that Croatia looked to have been the better team until this round. It was also the most boring of the day of unexciting matches. This match lacked any kind of energy at all. By the time the first half ended, neither team had registered any shots on target. Renato Sanches was the bright spot of the match until Quaresma came in for Portugal in the 87th minute. When the match reached full time with no score, it went to overtime. Finally in the 117th minute, Croatia had a shot on goal but were denied by the post. Portugal went on the breat and Nani was able to poke a shot towards goal that found Cristiano in space at the back post. Danijel Subašić made a brilliant save but it left Quaresma with a simple close-range header and there was no way he was going to miss. Portugal move on.