Euro 2016 betting guide
The football championship of Europe is held every four years and has thrown up its share of surprises since it was first held in 1960.
Incidentally that inaugural event was in France, which hosts this year’s event, but Euro 2016 bears little resemblance to the 1960 edition, when just four teams contested the finals.
In 2016, the finals will be contested by no fewer than 24 teams, up from 16 in 2012, and, with those 24 teams all ranked in the top 45 in the world, plenty of surprises are on the cards.
Spain took the title in 2008 and 2012, and many believe their golden era has drawn to a close. But has it?
World champions Germany and host nation France are tipped as major contenders. Not to mention the star-studded Belgium team ranked No.2 in the world.
And what about an England team that qualified with a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 matches, with 31 goals for and just three against?
Our guide to Euro 2016 aims to help those interested in having a wager on the tournament navigate the pitfalls.
After all, this is one of the world’s great football events and just watching it is a treat. But if you can turn a profit along the way, whether in head-to-head match-ups or finding the outright winner or top goal-scorer, it will make it that little bit sweeter.
– Football betting guide
– Euro 2016 fixture
Quick guide to Euro 2016
First match: France v Romania, Friday, June 10, Stade de France, Saint-Denis.
Defending champions: Spain (defeated Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final at Olympic Stadium, Kiev).
The draw: There are 24 teams split into six pools. Each team plays its pool rivals once. The top two teams from each group, along with four of the third-placed teams, qualify for the knockout stages. There are 36 group matches in total, and another 15 matches in the knockout stages.
GROUP A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland.
GROUP B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia.
GROUP C: Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland.
GROUP D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia.
GROUP E: Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden.
GROUP F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary.
Result of past European championships
|1960||Soviet Union||Yugoslavia||2-1 (et)||France|
|1968||Italy||Yugoslavia||1-1 (et) 2-0 replay||Italy|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||3-0||Belgium|
|1976||Czechoslovakia||West Germany||2-2 (et) 5-3 (penalties)||Yugoslavia|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||2-0||West Germany|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||2-1 (sudden death et)||England|
|2000||France||Italy||2-1 (sudden death et)||Belgium, Netherlands|
World rankings for Euro 2016 teams
(As at May 18, 2016)
26 Northern Ireland
29 Czech Republic
31 Republic of Ireland
Who will win the Euro2016 tournament?
Our football experts run the rule over each of the teams and predict what you can expect from each team.
ALBANIA: The real minnows of Euro 2016. There were wild celebrations in this nation of fewer than three million people when they left Denmark in their wake and qualified for their first appearance in the finals of a major tournament.
Key man: Lorik Cana. Odds: $501. What we say: Great story but any draw would be a great result.
AUSTRIA: A real Bundesliga flavour to this squad and that’s by no means a bad thing. Have few weaknesses as their record in qualifying with nine wins and a draw from 10 matches attests.
Key man: David Alaba. Odds: $41. What we say: Won’t go down without a fight against even the best teams.
BELGIUM: On paper this team may well represent Belgium’s golden generation. Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard. Christian Benteke … all pure class. But as we know games are not played on paper and we want to see them start playing with real authority. They should be right at home in France, however, so they tick plenty of boxes this time.
Key man: Romelu Lukaku. Odds: $12. What we say: Doubts persist for us but they should provide plenty of the highlights.
CROATIA: Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is just one sublimely talented player among a star-studded Croatia line-up. Really look like the value team but have not always lived up to the hype.
Key man: Luka Modric. Odds: $34. What we say: With luck will be in the semis.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Topped their group in qualifying but are in a tough group here against Spain, Turkey and Croatia.
Key man: Petr Cech. Odds: $81. What we say: Don’t underestimate.
ENGLAND: Yes, yes, we know. They have not looked like winning anything for 50 years. But just look at the talent: Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, etc. Will the defence hold up? Who knows, but the vibes around the team are good.
Key man: Harry Kane. Odds: $9.50. What we say: It’s going to happen one day. Why not in France?
FRANCE: An incredibly talented squad has been assembled for this French party and they are a mouth-watering proposition even for the neutral fan. Their greatest battles might be in simply producing top form in the blinding glare of their home stage. So much talent but the manager may well be more important than all the superstars on the pitch.
Key man: Didier Deschamps. Odds: $4.33. What we say: Will the weight of expectation be too much?
GERMANY: Can never be discounted but Die Mannschaft may lack the cutting edge they had with Miroslav Klose on their way to the 2014 World Cup victory. All class though and you would expect to see them in the semi-finals. They have Mesut Ozil there to unlock defences but can they capitalise? Uncharacteristically looked less than impregnable in the qualifiers.
Key man: Manuel Neuer. Odds: $4.33. What we say: They are standing square in the path of all the would-be champions.
HUNGARY: Brought back memories of their glory years with their unlikely qualification. The change to 24 teams has given them an opportunity but struggled all the way through qualification and need to produce a few shocks to advance.
Key man: Ádám Szalai. Odds: $351. What we say: Not drawn in the strongest group but will be among the early casualties.
ICELAND: Genuine improvers in recent years and qualified here ahead of Turkey and fallen giants the Netherland, behind only the Czech Republic.
Key man: Gylfi Sigurdsson. Odds: $101. What we say: Rough chance for the quarter-finals.
ITALY: The Azzurri did what they always do in qualifying for big tournaments: choked the life out of their opponents and scored a lot of 1-0 wins. Sevens wins, three draws and only seven goals conceded.
Key man: Marco Verratti. Odds: $17. What we say: Can’t be written off but others have stronger claims this time.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Tough gig coming up against the world champions in Germany in Group C, not to mention Poland and their goal-scoring freak Robert Lewandowski.
Key man: Kyle Lafferty. Odds: $351. What we say: Great run to reach France but can’t match the big guns.
POLAND: They have the prolific Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski to lead the line. He is the fastest foreign player to 100 goals in Bundesliga history and that’s no small achievement in what is a powerful competition. Poland also have plenty of other talent with players such as Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Key man: Robert Lewandowski. Odds: $51. What we say: One of our dark horses and be stunned if they don’t at least get to the knockout stages.
PORTUGAL: Just can’t seem to put it all together on the big stage. Always have a superstar (see C Ronaldo) or two on hand but their record on the big stage does not inspire too much confidence.
Key man: Cristiano Ronaldo. Odds: $21. What we say: Now or never for CR7 to land a big team title.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Like their counterparts from the north, Ireland have landed in a brutal group, alongside world No.2 Belgium, perennial powerhouse Italy and a solid Sweden team led by superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Key man: Jonathan Walters. Odds: $151. What we say: We’d love to see the Irish on a roll but we are not feeling it this time.
ROMANIA: Arrive in France on the back of impressive defensive efforts in which they conceded just two goals in 10 Euro qualifiers. Need to discover a cutting edge up front.
Key man: Ciprian Tatarusanu. Odds: $176. What we say: Bring back Hagi or they’re no hope.
RUSSIA: With the World Cup headed to Russia in 2018, they will want to put on a good show here. But are they good enough? They are experienced and tough and were impressive enough in qualifying but it’s hard to see them winning the whole thing.
Key man: Artem Dzyuba. Odds: $67. What we say: See you in Moscow in a couple of years.
SLOVAKIA: Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik is a quality performer and they loom as a banana peel for the likes of England and Wales. But they may lack the all-round class to move to the knockout stages.
Key man: Marek Hamsik. Odds: $151. What we say: Hard to break down but won’t be around for the latter stages.
SPAIN: What a wonderful decade it has been for Spain and its football fans, which is, basically, all 47-odd million of them. The talent is ageing but they still have poise, class, experience and the ability to get the job done on the big stage. Nine wins and one loss in qualifying with only three goals conceded … impressive numbers.
Key man: David Silva. Odds: $6.50. What we say: Never underestimate a champion.
SWEDEN: It’s all about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s the superstar captain but at 34 this could be his last hurrah on the big stage. Wherever he has gone goals have followed … this tournament should be no different and Sweden are certainly no one-man band.
Key man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Odds: $101. What we say: Thanks for the memories … but an early trip home.
SWITZERLAND: Not too many dramas qualifying and have been on an upward spiral in recent years. A well-rounded team but may be a game-breaker short of really challenging.
Key man: Breel Embolo. Odds: $67. What we say: They’ll reach the semis of a major tournament one day. Maybe not this time.
TURKEY: Up against Spain, Czech Republic and Croatia so will need to fire from the first minute of game one but they can play some seriously good football.
Key man: Arda Turan. Odds: $81. What we say: Hardened by a tough qualifying campaign and could surprise.
UKRAINE: Another team which arrives in France thanks to its defensive prowess in the qualifiers, conceding just four goals in 10 games. But can they find a little more flair.
Key man: Andriy Yarmolenko. Odds: $81. What we say: Sneaky chance of progressing ahead of Poland.
WALES: Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale was immense as the Dragons marched through qualifying conceding only four goals in 10 matches but scoring only 11. Will be fascinating watching Wales, and Bale is not their only weapon. Wales v England one of the most keenly anticipated matches of the group matches.
Key man: Gareth Bale. Odds: $67. What we say: The further the better for the fans.
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