Poland and Slovakia get their Euro 2020 campaigns under way on Monday afternoon, with three points the aim for both sides.
Poland, under the stewardship of former Portugal midfielder Paulo Sousa, have not exactly been in great form coming into the Euros, but do have a certain Robert Lewandowski to lean upon when their campaign kicks off.
Slovakia meanwhile, are competing in their second European Championship and are seeking to build upon a last-16 showing in France five years ago.
Poland can be backed to win the game at
20/29, with Slovakia priced at
5/1 and the draw
Hopes Pinned On Lewandowski
It is not unreasonable to predict that Poland’s Euros will hinge on whether Lewandowski can recreate his club form at international level.
The 32-year-old has been flawless for Bayern Munich ever since joining on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund, but last season was probably the high watermark for him personally.
On the final day of the season, he broke Gerd Muller’s record of number of Bundesliga goals in a single season to cement his status as a bona fide legend of the game.
The big challenge will be replicating that form at international level, alongside, no disrespect, inferior team-mates.
His recent goal record for Poland suggest that it isn’t easy – he has scored only three in his last seven Eagles’ games, with two of them being against minnows Andorra.
Given Lewandowski always seems to pop up when it matters, it may be wise to back to rediscover his goalscoring touch for Poland and he can be backed at
20/23 to score anytime.
Hamsik to Provide Slovak Inspiration
Slovakia are a largely functional team with few superstar names to call upon.
One who could be regarded in that category is Marek Hamsik – the 33-year-old playmaker may be slightly long in the tooth these days but still possess a lot of quality.
He has been something of a nomad in recent years, playing in China for Dalian Professional, before joining Swedish outfit Goteborg in January and now he has a move to Turkish side Trabzonspor agreed, effective from July.
Hamsik has been a goalscoring midfielder throughout his career – in 12 years at Napoli, he scored at least half a dozen Serie A in every season bar one, while for Slovakia he has bagged 26 in 126 appearances – respectable for a middling side.
He can be backed at
6/1 to score anytime.
Nothing to Separate Duo
Group E looks like it could be very close on paper, with a young Spanish side and an ageing Swedish line-up completing the quartet.
Therefore, both Poland and Slovakia will sense a genuine opportunity to get through to the last-16, particularly with third-place finishes available.
Form will be a concern for both managers though – Sousa has tinkered repeatedly with his tactics and line-up to get the best results and has so far failed to find any consistency since taking over from Jerzy Brzeczek in January.
Like Poland, Stefan Tarkovic’s Slovakia have won only one of their last six internationals, but the Falcons will probably have fewer expectations placed upon them and, as such, could look to sit back and frustrate Poland.
If the Eagles can get service to Lewandowski, then they should win, but Slovakia will make it as tough as possible.
A score draw is available at
*All odds correct at time of writing