The quarterfinal line-up at the European Championships started to take shape yesterday after three drab matches that will live forever in the record books but not the memory.

The start of the round of 16 saw Poland, Portugal and Wales make it through to the final eight.

Poland qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time after converting all their penalties to beat Switzerland 5-4 in a shootout in Saint-Etienne. Following a 1-1 draw the Swiss dominated for long periods, Grzegorz Krychowiak stepped up to score the winning penalty.

Krychowiak's spot-kick capped an impressive display by Poland during the shootout. The only player to miss was Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka, who fired wide of the left post.


"Preparing for this match, we tried to improve our penalties, and we knew they'd be taken in the best possible way," Poland coach Adam Nawalka said.

But the abiding memory of the game will be Switzerland's 82nd minute equaliser by Xherdan Shaqiri, the goal of the tournament so far. Jumping with his back to the goal, Shaqiri sent a left-foot volley from the edge of the area on to the inside of the post and into the net.

Poland's quarterfinal opponents will be Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal following their 1-0 victory over Croatia after extra time in Lens.

The match had been labelled one of the ties of the round but it didn't really take off until both sides were staring at the prospect of a penalty shootout.

Substitute Ricardo Quaresma scored the sole goal in the 117th minute with Portugal's only serious attack. The goal came after Ronaldo's one effort in the match was parried by keeper Danijel Subasic into the path of the stooping Quaresma, who headed the ball into an unguarded net from close range. The goal came about 30 seconds after Croatia had their best effort when Ivan Perisic struck the post with a header.

"Croatia is the team that played the best football in the group stages," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. " [Yesterday], we were the lucky ones but I think it was fair."

Wales' quarterfinal opponents on Saturday will be either Hungary or Belgium, who square off at 7am today. The other knockout games overnight saw hosts France play Ireland, and Germany take on Slovakia.

- AP