There may be no senior European tournament or World Cup to bet on this summer, but there’ll be football betting galore in the form of the European Under-21 Championships, which kick off in Denmark this weekend.
Stuart Pearce and his young England charges will begin their campaign with a clash against Spain in Herning on Sunday night. And anyone looking for football tips should look no further than the bookies themselves, who have installed the two sides as first and second favourites to win the tournament.
Spain are available at 21/20 on Sunday with an England win and a draw both available at 9/4. But if the efforts of the Spanish and English senior sides are anything to go by, it’ll be nothing more than a comfortable win for the men from Spain.
The England U-21s are an undoubtedly talented team with the likes of Jack Rodwell, Chris Smalling and Daniel Sturridge all likely to break into the senior squad sooner rather than later. Two other players meanwhile - Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson - are on the verge of completing mega money moves to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.
But whether the individual talents available to Staurt Pearce are able to perform as a cohesive unit remains the burning question, and those looking to bet on England’s fortunes may want a good look at how England perform against Spain first.
Two years ago the U-21s beat Spain 2-0 in the group stage and also drew with Germany. Yet when they faced the Germans again in the final they were stuffed 4-0 after crumbling under the pressure.
Sunday’s Group B clash will be a good marker of the capabilities of this England side, but it’ll be nothing in comparison with the task they’ll face if they go on to meet Spain again in the final.