EURO 2016 Today: Poland, Portugal clash for semifinal spot

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The EURO 2016 quarterfinals kick off on Thursday and there’s a true 50/50 encounter on the slate: Poland vs. Portugal.

Heading into this tournament both teams rely heavily on one star man and both have failed to set the tournament alight thus far.

[ LIVE – Follow Poland v Portugal ]

I’m of course talking about Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The latter scored twice in Portugal’s final group game to get them to the knockout stage and was involved in the winning goal against Croatia to set up this quarterfinal tie, but both he and Lewandowski have been tightly marked throughout this tournament.

Will they explode into life on Thursday in Marseille?


Essential reading: Ranking the likelihood of which remaining teams will reach the final of EURO 2016.

ICYMI: Antonio Conte’s incredible sideline antics as Italy beat Spain in Round of 16.


EURO 2016, Game 45: Poland vs. Portugal
When: Thursday, 3 p.m. ET – Live on NBCSports.com
Where: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Key Battle: Kamil Glik vs. Cristiano Ronaldo
Prediction: Portugal to win, 2-1 – I think the Ronaldo factor will just give Portugal the edge but it will be a tight game as both teams truly believe they can advance to the semifinals.

In team news for this game, Portugal could have all 23 players fit with Raphael Guerreiro and Andre Gomes battling back from knocks. Poland could welcome back teenage midfielder Bartosz Kapustka after he missed their quarterfinal win over Switzerland on PKs through suspension.

Portugal’s William Carvalho, Pepe and Ricardo Quaresma are all one yellow card away from missing a potential semifinal. So are Poland’s Kamil Grosicki, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Krzysztof Maczynski, Michal Pazdan, Slawomir Peszko and Lukasz Piszczek.