Poland v Northern Ireland, Sunday June 12
Nice, Live on BBC, 5pm
An eye-catching 2-0 win in Warsaw against Germany set the tone for Poland’s European qualification campaign and when you have a world-class striker like Robert Lewandowski in your side you’ve always got a chance of scoring enough goals to win plenty of games. The Bayern man was prolific in qualification scoring a whopping 13 goals and ending up as the overall leading goal scorer.
In the group stages, they won 6 games, drew 3 and lost 1, scoring 33 goals, conceding 10 and ending up with a +23 goal difference.
Whilst qualification from Northern Ireland’s group always looked a possibility few fans would have expected Michael O’Neill’s side to have made quite such light work of finishing top of a group containing Romania, Hungary and former winners Greece. In fact Northern Ireland lost just one game and qualified with a game to spare.
In the group stages, they won 6 games, drew 3 and lost 1, scoring 16 goals, conceding 8 and ending up with a +8 goal difference.
During qualification, Poland scored in every one of their matches and they scored at the highest rate of any of the 24 nations, netting 33 times in 10 games (admittedly a fair few of those (15) were against the mighty Gibraltar). They were the most accurate shooters of any qualifier, getting 53.4% of their shots on target. Poland are an aerial threat too, scoring the most headed goals in qualifying (7). Defensively from headers, they didn’t concede a single goal in qualification.
It doesn’t bode well for Northern Ireland. Having only conceded one goal in the first half of their qualifying matches, they conceded joint-second highest percentage of goals in the second half of matches: 88%. The longer this game goes on, the more you feel the pressure will increase on their defence, and during qualification this was when the goals against went in.
It’s hard to oppose the Poles, and it’s hard to build a case for Northern Ireland posing enough of an attacking threat to trouble their defence, or being rigid enough at the back to stop the prolific Robert Lewandowski and his colleagues.
- Poland To Win the Second-Half @
- Poland To Score in Both Halves @
- Robert Lewandowski To Score 2 or More Goals @
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