Poland looked solid rather than spectacular in qualifying for Euro 2016, and they have continued in that style throughout the tournament so far. They worked hard to break down Northern Ireland in their opener, earned a valuable point against Germany and then picked up another narrow victory over Ukraine before battling through the Round of Sixteen against Switzerland on penalties.
Portugal qualified for the tournament with relative ease, but they made a sluggish start to Euro 2016, being held by Iceland in their opener. Another frustrating draw against Austria put them at risk of being knocked out, but they finally found their scoring touch against Hungary to sneak through as one of the best third-placed Group sides. They were more convincing in their Round of Sixteen tie, matching a technically excellent Croatian side and reaching the quarter-finals with a late goal in extra-time from Ricardo Quaresma.
Poland vs. Portugal – H2H Stats
Poland has played Portugal on ten occasionss, winning three and losing four with three of their meetings ending in a draw.
Their first encounter came during the 1976 World Cup qualifying round in Porto when Poland emerged as 2-0 victors courtesy of a double from Grzegorz Lato.
They have met twice during major competitions. The first time was during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when Poland edged their Group F game 1-0. Sixteen years later they met again at the World Cup, and this time, Portugal was the winner, thanks to a hat-trick from Pauleta and a goal from Rui Costa.
Poland plays an old-fashioned 4-4-2 system that is flexible enough to allow them to pour forward, yet can also be compact in defence as they showed against Germany and in the second half against Switzerland when their talisman Robert Lewandowski dropped deeper to supplement the midfield. Against a rather defensive Portuguese side that plays a similar formation, we can expect Poland to push forward and try to take the game to their opponents, particularly in the wide areas.
During the Group matches, Portugal’s 4-4-2 formation seemed to lead to a direct, almost frantic style of play, with Ronaldo largely isolated up front. Their efforts against Croatia were more typical of what we’ve come to expect from a Portuguese side and they are likely to adopt a similarly cautious approach in this game, sitting deep, closing down Poland’s attacks and hoping to nick a goal courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance or Nani’s inventiveness at the other end.
Poland vs. Portugal Odds & Betting Markets
Poland have only conceded one goal in four games so far, and Portugal are notoriously cautious in major tournament knock out games, so many pundits are predicting that this game will be a dull, defensive affair, but there is a good chance that this opening quarter-final could be surprisingly exciting.
For a start, both teams play a 4-4-2 system, which means two strikers apiece and more space in midfield than we usually see in an international game. Poland is also likely to try to take the play to their opponents, utilising their excellent wide players and trying to find the head of Lewandowski, who, despite his lack of goals, has been working hard for the team and remains a threat.
Portugal will sit back and play on the counter, as they did in their Round of Sixteen game, but Poland offers more of a direct threat than the Croats, who were closed down in an overloaded midfield. If Poland can take the lead, Portugal will have to leave their defence unprotected as they search for a goal, and as we have already seen in this tournament when forced to make the running, they are vulnerable defensively.
Poland looks underrated in the win market and can be backed at 3/1 with Boylesports.
Odds for Total Goals
Poland’s four matches so far have produced just four goals, but I think this match could be more open than people are predicting, particularly if Poland score first. Both sides play with two strikers, and Ronaldo and Lewandowski are two of the most prolific forwards in world football.
If the game opens up, we could be in for an entertaining affair, and it’s worth backing Over 2.5 Goals at 21/10 with William Hill.
Odds for First Goalscorer
Not surprisingly, Ronaldo dominates the First Goalscorer market, but there’s no value to be had from backing him at a short price, particularly as Portugal are likely to be cautious early on in this game. Poland will make all the early running, and although he is yet to score in this tournament, the dangerous Lewandowski should never be written off.
Back him at 13/2 with BetVictor to be the first goalscorer.