Euro 2016 Group C: Northern Ireland to feel full force of Poland and Lewandowski in opener
Lee Gormley | June 10, 2016
Northern Ireland v Poland
- Euro 2016 Group C
- Sunday, June 12th
- Kick-off: 17:00 BST
- Allianz Riviera, Nice
- Live on BBC
NI open Euro campaign against Poland
Northern Ireland make their European Championship debut on Sunday evening as Michael O’Neill’s men take on Poland in Nice, a fixture which the Home Nation currently lead in previous meetings with four victories to their opponent’s three wins.
The travelling Northern Irishmen come into Euro 2016 on the back of a hugely impressive qualifying campaign in which they topped their respective standings that included the likes of Romania and Hungary, though they face a much sterner test in Group C at the finals.
This includes their opener against Adam Nawalka’s Polish outfit, which boasts one of the most clinical finishers in Europe in the form of Bayern Munich marksman Robert Lewandowski, and they are 6/4 with Coral to secure victory without conceding at the Allianz Riviera.
Although, Northern Ireland enter the tournament boasting the longest unbeaten run of any other country competing in France and they are 5/1 to cause an upset to continue on their fine qualifying form.
Lewandowski threat to O’Neill’s men
Poland take to French soil in possession of one of the front runners for the summer’s Golden Boot, with Munich hitman Lewandowski having struck an incredible 48 goals for club and country this past season, including a historic nine-minute five-goal haul for Bayern back in September against Wolfsburg.
The Bundesliga frontman will look to maintain that sublime standard in the finals and is 3/1 to bag a brace or more against a depleted and ageing Northern Ireland backline, which is without Chris Brunt as well as featuring veteran duo Aaron Hughes and Gareth McAuley.
As well as the Bavarians’ forward, the Green and White Army must deal with the threat of Ajax starlet Arkadiusz Milik, whose stock has risen in recent months due to superb displays in the Eredivisie. The young sharpshooter is 5/1 to net the game’s final goal after a 24-strike term for his club.
Borussia Dortmund owned Fiorentina wideman Jakub Blaszczykowski will also be a threat and is 10/3 to get on the scoresheet anytime, while fellow Black and Yellows player Lukasz Piszczek is 8/1 to strike.
Lafferty leads Northern Ireland hopes
Following an injury scare in training, Northern Ireland goalscoring hero Kyle Lafferty looks set to be fit for his nation’s opener, and the Norwich City frontman is aiming to enjoy a similarly rampant campaign to that of his qualifying exploits.
The former Rangers striker is now his nation’s second all-time marksman behind David Healy and can be had at 11/4 to find the target again anytime against the Poles, while strike partner Will Grigg is 7/2 to do so.
Conor Washington was signed by QPR to replace Charlie Austin in January but failed to find the net for his new employers, though he did manage to strike for his country in wins over Slovenia and Belarus, making him 10/3 to grab another here.
After creating history by making the France finals, O’Neill’s Northern Ireland will look to do themselves justice in their opening encounter, but must deal with a wealth of Polish attacking talent in this Group C tussle.
What does Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer think ahead of this game? Here are his thoughts on Northern Ireland v Poland: