Date: 30th June 2016 at 11:00am
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The first quarter-final at EURO 2016 takes place on Thursday evening as Poland take on Portugal in Marseille.

Both nations failed to win their groups, with Poland finishing second and Portugal third, but will play each other for the chance to take on either Wales or Belgium in the semi-finals in Lyon next Wednesday.

Poland have impressed so far this summer and have conceded just once, with Xherdan Shaqiri’s stunner in their Round of 16 tie against Switzerland helping the White and Reds progress after their 5-4 victory on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Yet at the other end, goals have been hard to come by as Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer in qualification with 13 goals, has so far failed to find the back of the net in open play and Poland have scored just three times in four games.

They have scored two goals fewer than the other quarter-finalists, but should be encouraged by the fact that they have been creating chances, such as when Arkadiusz Milik put the ball over the bar with just an empty net to find after 25 seconds against the Swiss.

In comparison, Portugal have so far been left frustrated as they have failed to win a game in 90 minutes.

Despite this, and unlike Adam Nawalka’s men, they have scored five times in their four fixtures, with three of them coming in one match against Hungary.

That is compounded by the fact that they have conceded four times in four games, a stat which should help a player of Lewandowski’s class to end his barren run.

For their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, the fixture may have gained added importance after the international retirement of Lionel Messi this week, meaning the Real Madrid star has the chance to be the only one of the pair to win a major international competition.

Ronaldo has already shown in France that he can put on a show when it is required, as seen with his brace against Hungary, and Portugal may well be relying on him to come up with some magic in order to progress against the resolute Poles.

There have been ten previous meetings between the two nations, which has seen Portugal slightly edge out their Eastern European opponents with four wins to their three, whilst there have also been three draws.

The last time they met was back in February 2012 in an international friendly, where the two sides shared a goalless draw in Warsaw.

Photo: Presse Sports / Offside

Portugal’s Ronaldo is the first player to score at four European Championship finals – Photo: Presse Sports / Offside.

Team News:

Poland have Bartosz Kapustka available after suspension, but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is still struggling with a thigh injury.

For Portugal, both Andre Gomes and Raphael Guerreiro are nursing minor muscle injuries, but are expected to be passed fit.

FIFA World Ranking: Poland – 27th; Portugal – 8th
Best European Championship Finish: Poland – Group Stage (2008,2012); Portugal – Runners-up (2004)
Previous Meeting: Poland 0-0 Portugal – February 29, 2012 (International Friendly)
Form: Poland – DWDWDL; Portugal – WDDDWL
Key Men: Poland – Robert Lewandowski; Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
Shoot Says: Poland 1-1 Portugal (Portugal to win on penalties)

 
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