Poland and Northern Ireland are set to do battle in their respective first matches of the 2016 European Championship. As surprising as it may sound, both of these lower-tier national teams impressed throughout the whole of Euro qualifying and are looking like some of the strongest teams in their group.
Poland played 4 friendlies in the lead up to this summer’s tournament, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing a close match with the Dutch. Northern Ireland has an equally noteworthy friendly schedule as they managed to go undefeated in their 4 matches, winning and drawing 2 matches.
When it comes down to it, both of these sides will be looking to make a name for themselves this year, and it really seems as though this might be the year that one, if not both, of these countries do exactly that. Check out our most popular sportsbooks here that offer lines on this game.
Match Analysis for Poland vs N. Ireland
When you take a look at the attacking corps sported by both Northern Ireland and Poland, it becomes clear quickly that Poland is the stronger of the two. With European all-star Robert Lewandowski at the helm of the Polish attack, goals seem almost inevitable. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, are reliant mainly on Jamie Ward and will be surprised to see much production come from anyone else.
The midfield sees things even out as both Northern Ireland and Poland both have enough firepower and experience to give each other problems. Judging from recent matches, I am going to have to tilt the midfield battle in the favor of the Northern Irish. Players like Steven Davis and Paddy McNair do well to complement each other, and the chemistry with which they play is top-class. Poland has no midfield to scoff at, so it is important that you recognize that this 3rd of the pitch is quite evenly matched.
When it comes to defending, the Poles take this one easily. They simply have bigger bodies, more experience, and a better defensive record than their opponents. What’s more, the Polish defense has seen it all, meaning they have players from all leagues and skill levels, and have the wherewithal to handle just about anything and everything that is thrown at them. On set pieces, don’t be surprised to see Polish defenders push forward as they are dangerous in the air in the back and in the attacking 3rd.
OUR PICK for Poland vs Northern Ireland on Sunday
Poland are heavy favorites, sitting at -145 on the moneyline. Underdogs Northern Ireland are currently listed at +450, and that seems just about right. Though I would not be at all surprised to see a jittery Poland end up with only a point at the end of this match, the fact of the matter is that with the side Poland is bringing to France, a win is what is expected by players, coach, and fans.