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Preview: Poland v Northern Ireland

"We have big hopes here in France," conceded Poland coach Adam Nawałka as he prepared his side to take on Northern Ireland, who are on a national-record 12-game unbeaten run.

Preview: Poland v Northern Ireland
Preview: Poland v Northern Ireland ©UEFA.com
  • Northern Ireland are making their debut at a UEFA European Championship finals
  • Poland are appearing at their third successive EURO but have yet to win a game
  • Adam Nawałka's side scored 33 goals in qualifying, two more than England
  • Robert Lewandowski notched 13, equalling David Healy of Northern Ireland's record
  • Northern Ireland's competitive record against Poland is W3 D1 L2

Possible line-ups

Poland: Szczęsny; Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jędrzejczyk; Błaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Mączyński, Kapustka; Milik, Lewandowski.
Out: none
Doubtful: Grosicki (ankle)

Northern Ireland: McGovern; Cathcart, Evans, McAuley; Baird, McNair, Ferguson; Norwood, Davis; Lafferty, Ward.
Out: none
Doubtful: none

Adam Nawałka, Poland coach
The team have developed really well so we have high hopes here in France, but this is football – anything can happen. Still, I believe in this team as we have shown we can play well in difficult games.

Everything you need to know about Poland in 30 seconds

We expect a tough game. They are very strong as a team but I don't want to go into detail. What I can assure you is that we are 100% ready for this challenge. Polish Football Association president Zbigniew Boniek told us some time ago that we shouldn't put too much pressure on ourselves. So we decided not to win our last two last friendlies!

Michael O'Neill, Northern Ireland manager
We expect a very tough game but we're confident going into the competition and are looking forward to it. Lewandowski is in my opinion in the top two centre-forwards in the world. If you asked any club in the world, they would take him. We know the threat of [Arkadiusz] Milik and know the Polish team very well. Lewandowski is similar to [Zlatan] Ibrahimović in the Swedish team in that he's a huge player, a big personality, the captain, but we have done a lot of work on the Poland team as a whole. We know their strengths and we know their weaknesses.

UEFA.com team reporters
Piotr Koźmiński, Poland (@UEFAcomPiotrK)
Poland are waiting impatiently for their first EURO finals victory and many believe it will come on Sunday, at the seventh attempt. Nawałka's side were the top scorers in qualifying and will not abandon their attacking style. The coach's biggest headache is Rennes winger Kamil Grosicki, who was injured in the friendly against Lithuania and remains doubtful. The absence of a player regarded as being in peak form would be a huge loss.

Introducing Northern Ireland

Graham Little, Northern Ireland (@UEFAcomGrahamL)
Northern Ireland arrive on a 12-match unbeaten run – the best form of any team in the tournament and the best record in the country's history. Yet they will be severely tested by a free-flowing Polish side who scored 33 goals in ten qualifiers. O'Neill's boys are comfortable with the underdog tag, and with some of the most vocal fans on the planet they won't be lacking in motivation.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Northern Ireland: DWWDWDWDWD

Did you know?
Northern Ireland have not played at a major final tournament since bowing out of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the group stage. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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