The Quarter Finals are underway
The first quarter final of Euro 2016 gets underway on Thursday evening when Poland face Portugal at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. England’s tournament may well be over, but the competition still continues until the 10th July. Both sides were unable to win their last 16 matches in regular time, with Poland needing penalties, whilst Portugal won in extra time.
This is the first time that Poland have reached the quarter finals of a major tournament and they’re just two wins away from the final. Their key player Robert Lewandowski, is still yet to find the back of the net in the tournament so far, however they’ve managed to kill off games by relying on their defence. Xherdan Shaqiri’s wonder goal in the Last 16 tie was the first that they’ve conceded all tournament, meaning that they’re defensively solid and robust, and they’ll feel confident in being able to repel any attack that comes their way. They’ve already managed a goalless draw against Germany in the group stages which set them up nicely for any challenges that would come their way in the knockout stages. Although quiet against Switzerland, Arkadiusz Milik continues to showcase his talents on the international stage.
It’s a very different story for Portugal. They’ve scraped through every game they’ve played in the tournament so far through the skin of their teeth. They’re still yet to win a game in 90 minutes, which goes to show the team’s overall lack of quality. Their last 16 tie against Croatia was turgid and possibly one of the worst games of football ever seen at a major international tournament, with neither side managing a shot on target until 117th minute of the match. With the exception of his back heel goal against Hungary, Ronaldo has struggled and underachieved in the tournament so far. He’s looked lost without the same quality that he has in the Real Madrid side, whilst his comments about Iceland may now come back to haunt him. Their third place finish in the group has put them on the better side of the draw however, and a victory over Poland would see them classified as contenders, despite being poor for the majority of the competition.
Pressure on Portugal
The odds are suggesting that Portugal are slight favourites, despite their poor showings in the tournament so far. NetBet are pricing them at 6/5 to win, whilst Poland are considered as the underdogs at 29/10. It’s always tough to tell when it comes to knockout football, where results can hinge on a refereeing decision. Lewandowski is tipped to regain his scoring touch at 17/10, whilst Ronaldo is backed at 23/20 to score at any time.
England’s Euro 2016 campaign continues tonight with their Last 16 tie against Iceland.