After completing a memorable win against Switzerland on penalties in the first knockout round at Euro 2016, Poland have another task on their hands against a hungry Portugal side with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the attack.
Following a poor performance in the group stages, Portugal were very lucky to qualify for the knockout stages due to the new rule allowing third place sides to qualify. They went on to complete a shocking result against Croatia, who were named as the dark horses of the competition, with Ricardo Quaresma scoring in the last moments of extra time.
Poor tournament for the captain
Poland’s captain, Robert Lewandowski, is still yet to announce his name at the European Championships. The striker scored a key goal during the penalty shoot-out against Switzerland, but hasn’t scored for Poland during normal time. Could this be down to opponents having two defenders tightly marking him?
Luckily for Lewandowski, his side hasn’t failed him when the goals are needed but soon or later his manager will expect the Bayern Munich striker to bring his individual abilities to a game where they need it the most. It’s not a surprise that one moment from Lewandowski can win his side the game.
Portugal have conceded only four goals so far in this tournament and kept an attacking Croatia side very quiet in their recent game. It took more than 110 minutes for Croatia to complete one shot on target, despite dominating the game.
Another defensive performance needed?
Poland have been defensively impressive throughout the competition; Adam Nawalka’s men have only conceded one goal which was a fantastic Xherdan Shaqiri overhead kick in the round of 16. They will need to keep this up especially against an attacking-minded Portugal side, who aren’t afraid to pour forward.
Striker Arkadiusz Milik has missed a few chances and Lewandoswki is still waiting to break into form, meaning Poland will have to rely on their defence for another solid performance to keep them in the game. That is unless the attacking duo show up in the quarter final, which would be a small relief for the manager.
Centre-back pair Kamil Glik and Michal Pazdan have been solid throughout the competition and have received praised from a lot of football fans on social media. Both defenders put on a fantastic performance against Germany, which felt like a win for the side.
They will be required to keep these levels of performance up in order to lead to way to a fourth clean sheet from five games.
Time to make history?
Poland have already made history by reaching the quarter finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1982 FIFA World Cup, when they came third in the competition.
But they can add another huge moment to their history books tomorrow, if they can pull off a win against Portugal.