Wales and Poland make history, Portugal continues
Euro 2016 Round of 16 day 1:
Switzerland 1-1 Poland (4-5 penalty kicks)
Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland
Croatia 0-1 Portugal (ET)
You could feel the pressure for the first day of the Round of 16. The most anticipated game between Croatia and Portugal ended up to be the most boring of all, a tactical battle with no risks taken by the offense. Cristiano Ronaldo only shot once on goal which led to the goal by Quaresma at the 117′.
Shaqiri gave us a moment of brilliance scoring the goal of the tournament with a well-balanced bicycle kick to send the teams in Extra Time. Overall the games were disappointing and defense took over offense in the three games. We hope to see more action and goals as the Round of 16 continues.
Some reactions after the games:
Chris Coleman, Wales manager
“We didn’t really play well at all, which is a credit to Northern Ireland. They make it very difficult for their opponents. We weren’t allowed to play our normal game.
It was an ugly win, but who cares? We’ve had to win differently every time in France, which says a lot about the players. But I feel for Michael [O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s manager], who has done a fantastic job. They’ll be disappointed but they have done brilliantly. It was a tough game”.
Wales, Gareth Bale
“We knew it was going to be an ugly match, obviously no disrespect to Ireland, but they make it difficult to play, we knew that from the start. We knew up top we weren’t going to get a lot of the ball, there’s not much space.
The team’s the most important thing, we worked hard, we did everything we could. We knew a goal would nick the game and thankfully it came to us. You can’t ask for any more and it’s incredible.
The support is incredible again. They turn out non-stop, they don’t stop singing, they keep getting behind us and obviously the fans at home. We’ll keep fighting for them, we’ll keep trying to make them proud and keep giving them something to cheer about”.
Adam Nawałka, Poland coach
“The Swiss are world-class in defense and attack. It’s not surprising that when they were losing they chased the game. We had to drop deep to defend and that’s why they created chances. But what’s most important is that when they scored their goal, you could see the potential of my team. We were able to switch from defence to attack and we took back control”.
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach
“It was a very tactical match. Portugal tried to take over but Croatia didn’t let us; then again, Croatia tried to take over and we didn’t let them win either. We were up against an amazing team and this was always going to be tight and strong.
We were ready for them and we set up to resist their strengths and take advantage of their weak spots. We didn’t allow them to counterattack but going forwards we do have room for improvement. At times we could have passed the ball faster but Croatia influenced that”.
Ante Čačić, Croatia coach
“Everything was perfect except the lack of a goal. As expected, Portugal played on the counterattack and for 120 minutes we controlled it and didn’t allow them a chance until that last one. Many times the best team doesn’t win and that’s what happened here.
We were more aggressive and tried to score but they were disciplined, scored after 117 minutes and I can only congratulate them. Portugal are a high-quality team with a lot of experience. They could maybe be tournament favourites now”.