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These two sides will likely be battling it out to avoid relegation to Group B, with Belgium and Netherlands occupying the other two spots in this group, and despite this being the opening match of the campaign, it could be pivotal in deciding who manages to stay up.
Neither side have played since the World Cup qualifiers in March, and both are in relatively impressive form going into this, so it’s hard to see much splitting them. Indeed, Poland have lost just one of their last nine outings, going W6-D2-L1 in a run stretching back almost an entire year now with their only defeat in that time coming against Hungary in November last year.
Wales are in fact unbeaten across the same number of games, winning just four, though that has included a stalemate with world number two side Belgium so they’ll feel confident they can get something heading over to Eastern Europe for this encounter.
The most impressive thing about Rob Page’s side is how hard they have been to beat and while they’ve ended level in some matches they ought to have come out on top of, their only defeats in the last three years have come against elite sides Belgium, France, England, Italy and Euro semi-finalists Denmark.
Poland have a strong record over Wales, not losing a single match to the Dragons since 1973, and winning each of their four meetings since the turn of the century. Notably, though, the most recent of those matches was some 13 years ago back in February 2009, and this is a very different time in Welsh football, so we’re inclined to take the head-to-head record with a pinch of salt.
Robert Lewandowski and Gareth Bale are the obvious difference makers here, though it’s the former that gets our nod to get on the scoresheet on this occasion. While Bale has been exceptional for Wales over the years, he’s scored in just two of his last 17 appearances for the national side and while that did include a hat-trick in his last away outing to Belarus, he’s not been finding the net regularly enough for either Wales or Madrid to warrant his price.
Lewandowski, however, finished as the Bundesliga top scorer for the fifth successive season, with his 35 strikes coming in at 11 more than next best Patrick Schick, while he also has nine goals in his last nine international appearances.
Poland may find it hard to get the better of this Welsh side who have proven so hard to beat, and a draw is the most likely outcome on this occasion, though we’d also get behind the Polish talisman to get himself on the scoresheet yet again.
LEWANDOWSKI TO SCORE ANYTIME
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