Euro 2016: Poland vs Portugal

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Poland had a tough time getting past Switzerland to get progress from the last 16 round of the tournament. Arguably their star man of the tournament Jakub Błaszczykowski scored when a Kamil Grosicki pass found him all alone 8 yards out. Błaszczykowski then calmly placed it under the keeper at the near post. That goal marked his second of the tournament.

It was looking good for Poland until the 82nd minute where Xherdan Shaqiri scored an unbelievable scissor kick that he undoubtedly learnt from Peter Crouch on the Stoke training ground. The match went to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out, where the only miss was by Arsenal new boy Granit Xhaka, who blazed one wide.

If the match stats were anything to go by then Switzerland came out on top. They struggled to breakdown a well organised Poland defence and had to rely on a moment of unexpected brilliance to find a goal. That was the first goal Poland have conceded despite facing the World Champions Germany in the group stages.

Portugal have struggled to make their way to the quarter-finals too. They only managed to pick up 3 points in a group you thought they would top fairly comfortably. Their best performance came in a 6 goal thriller against a very impressive Hungary team. Up until this match their talisman Ronaldo had failed to make any meaningful impact, other than comments made against Iceland’s tactics, but he managed to bag an assist for the Nani goal and add two goals himself.

It is hard to think of much to review about the match between Croatia and Portugal. The highlight of the match came in the 117th minute after a header from Ivan Perišić rebounded off the post. Renato Sanches was then able to move the ball forward to find Nani, who drilled a low ball to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Ronaldo shot, the first on target, was saved by Danijel Subašić but only as far as Ricardo Quaresma to head in from point-blank.

Prediction

Poland are undefeated in this years European Championship and their defence has only been breached once. Robert Lewandowski has drawn the attention of their oppositions defence, which has allowed Jakub Błaszczykowski and Arek Milik to create goals and grab a few of their own. Portugal are yet to win in 90 minutes, drawing all three group matches and grabbing a late winner in the second half of extra-time against Croatia. Portugal have lacked a creative spark all tournament so it is hard to see them making an impact against a resolute Poland defence.

Poland to progress to the semi-finals, probably AET.

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