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Poland v Portugal: A Seleccao pedigree to dash Polish hopes

| 30.06.2016

While this writer struggles to come to terms with England’s exit, the show goes on in France and up next is a team the Three Lions can only sit back and admire in terms of knockout proficiency at European Championships.

Unfortunately for fans of Poland, it’s not them. When the quarter-finals of Euros finals roll around, invariably Portugal will be left standing. This is their seventh successive last-eight appearance.

Even more ominously for the plucky Poles who continue their maiden journey into the knockout stages at the third Euros they’ve ever qualified for; A Seleccao have reached four semi-finals in their last six, including four years ago.

Without even considering the current form book, this kind of familiarity with the latter stages of a tournament makes Fernando Santos’ men the worthy favourites to qualify at 4/7.

That 13/10-shots Poland have only conceded once en-route to this meeting cannot be overlooked. However, for all their steel, Adam Nawalka’s men cannot replicate the attacking menace that brought them to Euro 2016 as the leading scorers in qualification.

Had there been clear signs that the so-far-goalless Robert Lewandowski and co were about to burst into life offensively against Switzerland, then they would have been a far more attractive underdog.

As it was, aside from a decent first 45 minutes in which their general play merited a one-goal advantage, the Swiss can feel hard done by that their comeback wasn’t rewarded before spot kicks cruelly sent them out.

Make no bones, this isn’t a vintage Portugal either. Drawing their first four games over 90 minutes backs up this theory and therefore the 2/1 about another stalemate is certainly the pick of the match odds.

Cristiano Ronaldo has blown colder than hotter, but the tournament’s leading shooter could well have a major bearing in a tight game.

The Real Madrid man scoring the only goal of the game is a 14/1 tempter, while under 1.5 total goals also seems worth a visit given Polish stinginess up to now.

Given their respective round-of-16 ties went to at least 120 minutes before a winner was determined, a 9/1 bet on Portugal polishing Poland off in extra time appeals.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.