Poland vs Northern Ireland by Rahul
Northern Ireland have done well to progress to this stage of the tournament, participating in the main draw proper for their first time. They focussed a lot on team work and building a strong defensive ethic, that has seen them qualify in what honestly was the weakest qualifying group around. They will rely a lot on Cathcart, McAuley and Evans to keep it tight at the back, but they haven’t been tested as their friendlies that they have played in the lead-up to the tournament have been against lowly sides. They haven’t face an opposition of this quality since they played Chile and Uruguay in friendlies way back in June 2014, where they got beaten without finding the scoresheet at all.
The Polish team look to be extremely strong on paper and their performances will look to show on the stage of this big tournament, and I expect them to go out attacking against Northern Ireland from the word go. I back Poland to beat Northern Ireland in this first group game.
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