Euro 2016 – Poland v Portugal: The stats say that you should expect a close one

Poland v Portugal, Euro 2016 Betting preview - all the stats, facts and figures

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Poland v Portugal, Thurs 30th June

Stade Vélodrome, Live on BBC - 8pm

The first of the Euro 2016 quarter finals kicks off in Marseilles tonight as the crushingly dull Poland take on the crushingly dull Portugal in a match virtually guaranteed to be the 7-7 draw we’re all craving.

Poland were the first side to reach the last eight after they edged out Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 stalemate during normal and extra time. Poland’s man of the tournament so far, Jakub Błaszczykowski opened the scoring in the first half, but Poland were pegged back late on when Xherdan Shaqiri’s goal-of-the-tournament contender beat Lukasz Fabianski.

Poland are yet to really catch alight this tournament and to date they’ve been functional rather than spectacular. Star striker Robert Lewandowski is yet to open his account, aside from a successful penalty in the game against Switzerland and Poland’s three goals to date have been scored by Arkadiusz Milik and two by the aforementioned Błaszczykowski. In the last two major tournaments Błaszczykowski scored 3 of Poland’s 5 goals and assisted the other two, so he’s certainly worth backing if Poland take your fancy.

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If on the other hand Portugal take your fancy, there is one key stat that you have to keep in mind before placing your bets today, and here it is: In the last two years of competitive football matches, none of Portugal’s matches have been settled by more than one goal. In that period, which covers the bulk of World Cup 2014, all their Euro 2016 qualifying matches and all their Group matches at the tournament so far, they’ve won some, drawn some and lost some, but no game has had more than a single goal separating the two sides. If you’re backing 2-0, 3-1, or 7-0 even, the stats say that you are wasting your time.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to add to the two goals he scored against Hungary in Portugal’s final group match by smashing 15 free-kicks straight into the Polish wall tonight, and following his eye catching appearances from the bench, match-winner against Croatia and owner of the Algarve’s sweetest left foot, Ricardo Quaresma will be pushing for a place in Fernando Santos’ starting XI.

Portugal may well win tonight, but if they do so, it’s going to be a battle of attrition, they’ll grind it out, and it’ll probably be a load of old shite to watch.

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