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Craig wary of Polish threat.

BY DARREN FULLERTON CRAIG CATHCART says Northern Ireland will face a peerless penalty box predator in Nice on Sunday.

The Watford defender is under no illusions that prolific Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is the man to watch.

The Bayern Munich star scored 13 goals in qualifying and 42 in 51 club appearances last season.

His 30 Bundesliga goals were delivered at a rampant ratio of a goal every 88 minutes.

The ever meticulous O'Neill has provided his defenders with video footage and a dossier on Lewandowski, but Cathcart has spotted few weaknesses.

"To be honest, there weren't many," he said. "There were maybe one or two. He switches off at times defensively, but in and round the box you have to be very careful with him.

"If you give him an inch he will score. The attention to detail is something Michael has brought in. We get little booklets on all the opposition players.

esses, "You have to look at your opponent's strengths and try to exploit the weaknesses, especially in a tournament like this. Those are the small percentages that can really help. It will be the little details that make a big difference."

t " Cathcart was bemused to learn that legendary French midfielder Alain Giresse (inset) had described Northern Ireland as "limited".

The 63-year-old, who won the 1984 European Championship, said it would be a "huge surprise if they go through the first round."

Asked if O'Neill's men are "technically limited," Cathcart said: "Absolutely not. In key positions, we have real quality players and the likes of Davo (Steven Davis), Ollie (Norwood) and Wardy (Jamie Ward) are great technicians with the ball.

"We have quality in the positions you need them in. We are really confident with the squad we have and are raring to go.

squad w rarin uwI "I have been an underdog before with Northern Ireland and Watford in the Premier League when people wrote us off.

in Le wro "W thi lik "When you hear things like that, it does spur you onto prove those people wrong and I'm sure that's what we'll do."

Cathcart knows Northern Ireland need to get their Group C campaign up and running against the Poles.

With four best third placed teams progressing, the 27-year-old also knows the last-16 is a genuine target.

"Will four points take you through? I think so," he said.


STAYING TIP TOP Craig Cathcart (right) and Luke McCullough yesterday in training

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 9, 2016
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