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Euro 2016 profile: Robert Lewandowski can fire Poland far


Led by the goals of Robert Lewandowski, who is a real shout in the top scorer odds, Poland have an encouraging profile ahead of Euro 2016.

We’re profiling all 24 teams at the Euro 2016 finals in France, so punters are in the know when it comes to the sides on show this summer.

This time it’s Poland, many neutrals’ favourites to go far in the tournament thanks to their fearsome firepower.

The White Eagles soared to second spot qualification in Group D, but the Poles had made an honourable charge to finish atop that pool, eventually ending just one agonising point behind bitter rivals and neighbours Germany.

That regional rivalry will continue in France, with Poland an industry-leading price 5/1 from Sky Bet to pip Die Mannschaft to the summit of a Group C this time, while Ukraine and Northern Ireland are also opponents.

History at the Euros: Poland certainly seem to posses a golden generation of talent at the moment, but it has not always been the case.

The White Eagles have now reached three successive European Championship finals in a row, though did crash and burn at the group stage in the previous two attempts, including as co-hosts of Euro 2012. Still, that represented Polish progress, as the Eastern Europeans had failed to ever qualify before 2008. How times have changed.

Head coach: Adam Nawalka​ is a former Poland international and World Cup featuring midfielder, but also has more than his fair of coaching stripes domestically, with former dugout stints including Wisla Krakow and Gornik Zabrze. The 58-year-old’s White Eagles win ratio of 59.09 per cent from 22 games isn’t half bad either.

Key player: Poland have more than just a sprinkling of star names littered across Europe’s top leagues, but it is of course Bayern Munich marksman Robert Lewandowski who is expected to lead them to success.

The sublime striker was top scorer in qualifying with 13 and is grabbing goals for fun in the Bundesliga, making Lewandowski superb at best odds of 16/1 with Paddy Power to win the Euro 2016 Golden Boot. His efforts up top will be instrumental, though on the defensive side Kamil Glik and Grzegorz Krychowiak are also shouts.

Rising star: Ajax’s Arkadiusz Milik has struck up a sensational and prolific partnership with Lewandowski, and it could prove France’s most lethal forward pairing. An impressive 10 goals in 24 caps could precede a Premier League move.

Wildcard: Good things have been said about Udinese-owned Empoli playmaker Piotr Zielinski​ for a long time, and the prodigious 21-year-old could prove predictions correct this summer. The imaginative midfielder is linked to Liverpool and has a chance to step up to the plate for his nation.

Confirmed Sweden Euro 2016 fixtures
All kick-offs are British Summer Time (BST)
Sunday, June 12: Group C, Poland v Northern Ireland (17:00); Allianz Riveira, Nice, BBC
Thursday, June 16: Group C, Germany v Poland (20:00); Satde de France, Saint – Denis, ITV
Tuesday, June 21: Group C, Ukraine v Poland (17:00); Stade Velodrome, Marseille, BBC

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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