Poland (38) v Northern Ireland (65) – Group C – 5pm (ITV) – 12.06.16 – Allianz Riviera, Nice
Poland are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 matches and they’ve won six of those games despite both sides netting on seven occasions. Perhaps more significant though is their recent record as the higher-ranked team: W13-D3-L0 and in half of those matches they’ve netted at least four times.
Looking at a wider trend, there have been 14 matches in the group stages of major international competitions since 2013 where a team have faced a side ranked 15-35 places lower than themselves and the stronger team has come out on top 10 times including W6-D1-L0 in Brazil 2014.
Northern Ireland have faced teams ranked 26-50 12 times since 2011 and they’ve won just twice, losing eight times. While they’ve certainly improved going forward in recent years they’ve struggled to scare better teams. In the 12 aforementioned games they’ve failed to net nine times and that puts us off backing Poland with both sides scoring.
To do well in big tournaments you need match winners and in Robert Lewandowski Poland have that. The front-man has 34 goals in 75 appearances for his country. We wouldn’t put anyone off backing him to find the net here.
Recommendation: Poland Win 1.65