After a bit of a hiatus, the quarter-finals are upon us in France at the always exciting Euro 2016 tournament. There were some very surprising results in the round of 16, especially with England falling to Iceland in dramatic fashion. We were high on England in that match, and still remain shocked over the lack of quality and talent they displayed. Clearly there will need to be some big changes within the England Football Association going forward.
Onto match one of the quarter-finals, and what a showdown this should be between two teams littered with talent. The impressive Polish side enters this match undefeated. They were solid in the group stages, even drawing Germany. In the previous round, they managed to slip by a dangerous Swiss side on penalties. Poland is poised, dangerous on attack, and solid on defense. The path is there for them to get to the Finals, and that is no longer a lofty aspiration.
On the other hand, the Portuguese team is like a cat with nine lives. Somehow, some way, they are still alive in this tournament. After a very shaky group stage – featuring three draws, and needing to come back three separate times against Hungary of all teams, Portugal got through into the round of 16. There, they were thoroughly outplayed by a much better Croatia side, but held on before securing a late goal on a counter-attack. I expected more from Portugal this tournament, but their inconsistency leaves me scratching my head. They’ve got the potential to do big things, but it’s been far too rare at these major tournaments of late. They will definitely need to be at their best against a hungry, well-disciplined, and motivated Polish side. This promises to really be a great match between two teams that attack very well. Read on below for a detailed game preview and an official prediction for Portugal and Poland.
Poland vs. Portugal Betting Odds:
Over 2 (+130)
Undr 2 (-150)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Poland vs. Portugal Pick:
Portugal surely has to wonder what they’ve done to deserve this path. After a less-than-stellar opening round of matches, and a narrow defeat to a better Croatian squad, here they are, favoured to get to the semi-finals, avoiding many of the giants in the process. That said, Poland could well be their stiffest competition yet. They’re undefeated at the tournament, and you can’t help but wonder if the wrong team is favoured from this match.
One area in which Poland has been very solid has been in their defense. Though they’re littered with tantalizing talent up front, it’s their defense that has guided them through. Against Switzerland, it took an astonishing bicycle kick from the top of the box to break them down – only the third goal they’ve conceded at Euro 2016. By comparison, Portugal surrendered three goals to Hungary back in the group stages, and have shown some real vulnerabilities there.
Up front, Poland possesses a bunch of world-class talent, though they’re not scoring at the rate many projected going into this tournament. Star forward Robert Lewandowski still hasn’t scored at the Euros, and surely he’s not going to finish this without netting one. There’s just too much talent up front, and the Portuguese do have a tendency to be a tad clumsy when it comes to defending. Look for a more inspired outing from Lewandowski and his striking partner, Arkadiusz Milik.
Given their recent runs of form, you can’t help but side with the big underdog Poles in this one. They’ve looked every bit as formidable as their opponents today, but with a much better defense. They’ve held the Germans intact and I don’t think the Portuguese will present them with more dangers. Poland is opportunistic and very dangerous on the break. Portugal will be without Andre Gomes, and that likely opens up some lanes for Poland in the midfield to distribute to Lewandowski up front.
I think there is big value in Poland +0.5 (essentially meaning to win or draw after 90 minutes). They don’t get scored on very often due to their team shape and organization, and still possess the talent to properly chase the game should they need a goal late. Keep rolling with Poland at the Euros!
PICK = Poland +0.5 (-150)