Our match prediction:
Allianz Riviera in Nice will host the Group C game between Poland and Northern Ireland. Adam Nawalka’s men are regarded as favourites to win the Euro 2016 opener, but the Green and White Army should not be written off just yet. The Poles suffered a 2-1 loss to Netherlands in their final warm-up game before the European Championship finals, with Robert Lewandowski failing to make life difficult for the opposition back line. Anyhow, the Bayern Munich attacker will be the man to watch in Sunday’s football match against Northern Ireland and the opposition defenders should find it hard to contain the former Borussia Dortmund man. Michael O’Neill’s troops impressed in the qualifiers, but we predict that the lack of experience at major tournaments is going prove to be a big problem for the Green and White Army at Euro 2016 finals.
Highligted Player (Krychowiak):
Born on 29 January 1990, Grzegorz Krychowiak began his professional career at Bordeaux, but having failed to be given a proper chance to impress by les Girondins, he instead gained valuable first team experience during loan spells with Reims and Nantes. Reims decided to purchase his contract in 2012 and that proved a great decision as the Polish midfielder impressed in two Ligue 1 seasons, scoring 8 goals in 70 appearances to secure a lucrative move to Sevilla. Krychowiak didn’t need a lot of time to prove his worth in Spanish La Liga as he quickly developed into one of the league’s best central midfielders, while helping los Rojiblancos defend the Europa League trophy in 2014/2015. Numerous top clubs have been casting admiring glances his way and it is just a matter of time before the midfielder leaves his current employers for greener pastures. Krychowiak needed some time to become an indispensable member of the Poland national team, but he has since grown into a genuine leader and is now among the first names on the team sheet.
Highlighted Team (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively. Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides. Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.