Petkovic attempts Poland mind games


Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has implied Poland may be getting ahead of themselves at Euro 2016, where Stephan Lichtsteiner expects Robert Lewandowski to remain a serious threat.

Both countries are through to the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time and have found themselves in what is considered to be the easier half of the draw.

That has prompted speculation a talented Poland side could match or even better the big-stage achievements of their predecessors, who reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1974 and 1982.

Petkovic, though, hopes mounting expectations back home could serve to weigh down his team's next opponents.

"I read in the Polish press there is a lot of pressure on their group, they have a lot of belief and think they can get through to the final," he said.

"We're only focused on this match and aiming to get through, nothing else."

If Poland are to do well they need Lewandowski to start scoring, the star striker having failed to hit the back of the net in any of the group-stage matches.

Switzerland's captain Lichtsteiner was, however, quick to dismiss suggestions the Bayern Munich forward should be treated as less of a threat following his dry spell.

"It's not like if you don't score for three games, you're no good anymore," he said.

"He's one of the best in the world for me. He could [still] be a problem for us."

Petkovic, while making a point of trying not to be drawn into analysing Poland's individual players publicly, alluded to Lewandowski's attacking threat and also praised the 27-year-old's defensive work-rate. 

When asked for his assessment of Adam Nawalka's team, he said: "Very strong, very compact, [they] haven't yet conceded, have top-quality forward players, but in this knockout game it's up to us to be better and to win, as we want to do.

"The first forward, Robert Lewandowski, works very hard for the team, just like [Arkadiusz] Milik and everyone else, then they have all the players behind them and three excellent goalkeepers. 

"For an individual perspective, I am not fearful of them. I have a lot of respect for them but we're also there and want to show them that."

Petkovic also refused to reveal if Haris Seferovic or promising youngster Breel Embolo, who started the final group game against France, will begin the game in attack against Poland.