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Meet the quarter-final opposition: Poland

Poland had never won a EURO game prior to this summer, but that record has been consigned to history amid a campaign built so far on the bedrock of a sound defence.

See Poland’s path to the quarter-finals
See Poland’s path to the quarter-finals

Nickname: Biało-czerwoni (The white and reds)

Story so far: Poland had never won a EURO finals game before making it seventh time lucky against Northern Ireland in Group C. A goalless draw with Germany was impressive, paving the way for a narrow victory over Ukraine. Poland were well on top against Switzerland in the last 16 but lost their way after Xherdan Shaqiri's sensational equaliser. They came through on penalties, though.

Route to last eight: 1-0 Northern Ireland, 0-0 Germany, 1-0 Ukraine, 1-1 Switzerland (5-4 on pens)

Star performer: Midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak is key. He was man of the match against Northern Ireland and must have been in the running for all Poland's games. He also showed nerves of steel to slot in the decisive penalty against Switzerland.

Best moment: Definitely those penalties. In the context of a tournament where four out of nine spot kicks in regulation time have failed to find the net, Adam Nawałka's side were unerringly accurate, making it five out of five. Robert Lewandowski, yet to score at UEFA EURO 2016, converted the first with aplomb.

Polish pair reveal their defensive secrets
Polish pair reveal their defensive secrets

Strengths: Defence – that Shaqiri strike is the only time they have been breached. Before these finals, many Polish fans wondered whether Michał Pazdan could compete at a top-level championship. They know better now.

Weaknesses: Efficiency in front of goal. Although Arkadiusz Milik netted against Northern Ireland, his radar has been off since; and Lewandowski, for all his endeavour and all-round contribution, will be eager to get off the mark. 

Quarter-final prediction: If Lewandowski and Milik manage to align their sights (they contributed 19 goals in EURO qualifying), and Krychowiak and Jakub Błaszczykowski pick up where they left off in midfield, Poland could do it.

All together now,
All together now,©Getty Images

What are they singing? Biało-czerwone to barwy niezwyciężone! Polska, biało-czerwoni, Polska, biało-czerwoni! (White and red, these colours are undefeated! Poland, white and red, Poland, white and red!)

Celebrity fans: Russell Crowe (actor), Maryla Rodowicz (singer), Andrzej Duda (president), Agnieszka Radwańska (tennis player)

Tell us something we didn't know: Anna Lewandowska, wife of Robert, is in France in at least a part-professional capacity. She advises several players, her hubby and Milik included, about their diet. They swear by it.