EURO 2016: Poland - Portugal
On Thursday, EURO 2016 continues with its first quarter final match that will feature an interesting clash between Poland and Portugal. As these two sides are still unbeaten at the tournament, we can expect a great and possibly very tightly contested game. Both Poland and Portugal had their work cut out for them in their round of 16 ties. Poland qualified for the quarter final stage via a nerve-wrecking penalty shootout against Switzerland while Portugal scored their winner at the end of the extra time against Croatia. Starting at 9 PM (CET), the quarter final bout Poland vs. Portugal will take place at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille.
Poland did well in the group stage (claiming two wins and one draw) and they were considered slight favourites of their round of 16 match against Switzerland. The beginning of the match offered surprisingly offensive and open game with several chances on both sides. However, it was not until the end of the first half when the first goal was scored after Blaszczykowski found the net. The Poles could have increased their lead in the second half but they failed to do so and were punished for that in the 82nd minute when Shaquiri scored the equalizer with an incredible overhead acrobatic kick. As no other goals were scored in the extra time, penalties had to follow to determine the winner of this thrilling battle. While the Poles managed to convert all of their penalties, the Swiss missed one, sending Poland to the tournamentÃ‚Â´s next stage. In the final 8, NawalkaÃ‚Â´s men will face off Portugal who definitely have more quality in their squad. If the Poles want to stay at the championship, they will probably have to deliver their very best performance.
Just like their Thursday rivals, Portugal are also yet to taste defeat at EURO 2016 but on the other hand, they have not won a single game in 90 minutes either. Despite having one of their best teams ever, Selecao only claimed 3 draws in the group stage and they were actually lucky to qualify for the knock-out stage. Consequently, they were regarded the underdogs in their round of 16 tie against highly in-form Croatia. Nevertheless, these two sidesÃ‚Â´ head-to-head encounter failed to impress as both teams focused mainly on defence. Therefore, the match resulted in a boring 0:0 draw, which took the game to extra time. With just 3 minutes remaining, Portugal suddenly struck the luck when Quaresma scored the winner via RonaldoÃ‚Â´s assist. SantosÃ‚Â´ men came out victorious and besides the coveted spot in the quarter final, they also gained a morale-boosting result that was needed by their damaged confidence. However, the teamÃ‚Â´s brightest star Ronaldo failed to meet the expectations in this match again. Apart from the two goals he scored against Hungary, he has been underperforming at the tournament. Let us see if he finds his feet in the Thursday clash against Poland.
The Velodrome Stadium in Marseille will be the site of a great football battle as it will host a quarter final match between Poland and Portugal. In terms of individual quality, the Portuguese should have the edge but so far, Ronaldo and co. have not been as dangerous as they were expected to be. Poland might not have that many world-class players in their quad but they have a strong team spirit and they also possess an attacking super star - Robert Lewandowski. Which of these two great forwards, who currently rank among the worldÃ‚Â´s best players, will be more satisfied with the result of the game? We will know by Thursday night.
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