EURO 2016 has been reduced to just eight teams with the first quarter-final taking place tonight as Poland take on Portugal in Marseille.
Path to the quarters:
Poland scraped narrow 1-0 wins over Northern Ireland and drew with Germany in the group stage before defeating Switzerland in a penalty shootout in the last 16. Poland have been dogged in defence and have conceded just one goal throughout the tournament. Going forward they have looked dangerous but they have lacked the final killer touch needed in front of goal. Striker and captain Robert Lewandowski has failed to replicate his club form with the national team and strike partner Arkadiusz Milik has squandered a number of chances. Winger Jakub Błaszczykowski has scored two goals for Poland and will once again be crucial to their attack tonight.
Portugal drew each of their group games. They took the lead against Iceland but conceded early in the second half to share the spoils before Austria held them to a 0-0 draw in Paris with Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty. They played out a thriller against Hungary where both sides score three goals – Ronaldo netted twice. They qualified for the last 16 as one of the best third placed teams and faced Croatia. It was set to be a thrilling game but unfortunately it was one of the worst last 16 games with both sides failing to record a shot on target until deep into extra-time. Croatia were edging the chances but failed to hit the target. As the second half of extra time wore on Croatia committed numbers forward and a quick counter attack saw Nani feed the ball to Ronaldo whose shot was parried to Quaresma who nodded home the winner.
Both sides have failed to live up to their full potential and this game will be a tight encounter. There is very little to separate the sides but the Polish attack will have to turn up tonight as their teammates will have a tough task in containing Ronaldo at the other end. Extra-time and penalties are on the cards tonight if required.
The winner of this game will face either Wales or Belgium in the semi-final next Wednesday.