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Nawalka expects tough Irish test

Poland coach Adam Nawalka insists there is little chance of his team taking tournament debutants Northern Ireland lightly in their opening Euro 2016 match.

Michael O’Neill’s team have arrived in France as rookies but with the longest ongoing unbeaten run of any side in the competition – currently standing at 12 matches.

Nawalka presided over an impressive qualifying campaign – notable for a 2-0 win over world champions Germany, with whom they will renew acquaintances in Group C.

But, for now, Poland’s focus is firmly fixed upon Sunday’s match in Nice.

“The preparation for this match has been very intense, starting with our qualifying matches,” Nawalka told a pre-match news conference.

“The team has been prepared and we are getting ready. We reached qualification in very good style. The team has been developing quickly, showing progress.

“That’s why we have high hopes and expectations looking towards this tournament.

“There are no easy matches in the European Championship. We will treat tomorrow’s match very seriously.

“It’s football, we need to be ready for a tough match against a difficult opponent.

“I’m hopeful over the potential of our team. We have proven we can deal with tough matches and I hope this will be the same.

“Northern Ireland are a team and their strength comes from team efforts. I hope we are ready to face them in all aspects of the game.”

Torino defender Kamil Glik is hopeful Poland’s big-game experience can be decisive.

“We are ready both physically and mentally, I feel very comfortable about this match,” he said, speaking alongside his coach. “I will take the atmosphere of this match as it comes and I am sure my team-mates will do the same.

“The qualifying campaign has earned us some respect. This team has been rebuilt thanks to this campaign and we definitely want to continue the football that we played in the qualifiers into the tournament.

“We will take energy from the qualifying campaign.”

Poland’s main injury concern heading into the match centres around Kamil Grosicki after the Rennes winger sustained an ankle problem during the warm-up friendly against Lithuania.

Sat 11 Jun, 2016
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