Spain to take out Sweden stalemate on Poland
The second round of games in a wide-open looking Group E concludes on Saturday evening, with Spain taking on Poland. Predictably, La Roja dominated possession in their opener against Sweden, but a mixture of poor finishing and excellent defensive work combined to condemn them to a goalless draw. Meanwhile, Orły fell to a disappointing 2-1 reverse at the hands of Slovakia, and were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal when defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak became the first player to be red carded at Euro 2020. He will be badly missed, and it's unlikely their opponents at the weekend will have much sympathy. Read our preview here:
With only Sergio Busquets unavailable for selection on Saturday, Luis Enrique has little reason not to try to go for the jugular again. Poland, especially without Krychowiak, are likely to cede plenty of territory for his side to work the ball around in, much as Sweden did. What was missing from the performance in that game other than the obvious was a real threat up top. Álvaro Morata's name on the teamsheet at international level doesn't have the tendency of striking fear into well organised defences despite a more than respectable ratio for one of the favourites to lift the trophy. His wayward finishing in the first match could mean he's replaced by Villarreal's Gerard Moreno, who racked up 30 goals in 2020/2021 for the maiden Europa League winners. He will be more involved in the build-up, and with his better sense of timing runs to avoid offside traps, he ought to be well placed to break the deadlock. Enrique might reshuffle some of the supporting cast in midfield, but Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres should still flank the main striker.
One of the few crumbs of comfort for Paulo Sousa during the Slovakia defeat was the display of Karol Linnetty. The versatile Torino midfielder will have to step up again to cover for the loss of Krychowiak, and ensure his side aren't constantly overwhelmed by the intricate passing and movement of their adversaries. His role will be a dual one: firstly, to win the ball back in deep positions in order to give Poland some breathing space, and then to be one of the runners from the middle of the park to support Robert Lewandowski and any half-chances they're able to fashion in open play. It will be a test of endurance and stamina as much as skill, and without any potent alternatives up front, the pressure is on the Bayern Munich superstar more than ever to conjure something out of nothing.
There's a feeling of déjà vu in the Polish camp once again. Though most certainly placed in a tough group, many observers expected a second placed finish behind Spain. Of course, that's still possible, but feels very unlikely at the time of writing, and will be out of their collective grasp altogether if Slovakia avoid defeat to Sweden on Friday. It remains to be seen just how good or otherwise Spain are, but they ought to take out their frustrations on Saturday. bet365 are offering odds of 2.05 for them to be winning at both half-time and full-time.
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