A major tournament always brings about much speculation, predicting and betting – so who are the favourites for Euro 2012?
GMF has decided to run through the teams taking part in Poland and Ukraine with the shortest odds.
We will try to assess why the odds are the ay they are and give our verdict on the best value going for teams to win the competition.
The price we have for each side is an average of the numerous on offer from various betting outlets in the UK.
Spain – 5/2
It’s not hard to understand why they are favourites when they arrive at the tournament as holders and world champions. They’ve tiki taka’d their way to all encompassing glory over the past four years, having built on the considerable success of Barcelona in the similar period.
The price actually feels a little long, which may be to do with Barcelona giving up their La Liga crown after three straight years and the players looking fatigued in the process. Barca players make up a large proportion of the national team, so the club’s fortunes could have an effect.
Despite losses to England and Italy, as well a friendly draw with Costa Rica, Spain have continued to roll over their opponents, winning all of their qualifying group games. However, no team has ever retained the title.
Verdict: Not a bad price considering they will probably have to be beaten by any other team that is going to win it and the difficult nature of the other groups.
Germany – 3/1
Joachim Loew’s team have been very impressive over the past couple of years, with a highly successful youth system in the country bearing fruit. They set the World Cup in South Africa alight with their brand of fast flowing counter-attacking football.
Another team that won every game in their qualifying group, Germany have stuttered a little recently in certain friendly internationals, but Loew used them to blood some of the vast array of young talent coming through in the Bundesliga. However, a number of the side were in the Bayern Munich team that were beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League final and looked distraught.
The problem is Germany’s group; they are in the ‘Group of Death’ and will face Holland, Portugal and Denmark – all teams that can exploit a bad day at the office. Despite this, the Germans are still expected to get out of their group.
Verdict: A good price. They should get out of their group and the nature of the prospective quarter-final opposition means they will likely make it to the semi-finals without much fuss.
Netherlands – 7/1
The Dutch were top scorers in the qualifying groups and have two of the most in-form strikers in Europe to choose from in Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Their price seems quite long, but is likely to do with their expected route taking in a semi-final with Spain.
Disgraced World Cup finalists, Bert Van Marwijk’s side will be hoping to go one step further this time but the Group of Death could well do for them and they are no strangers to complacency.
Losing to Russia in 2008 is an example of this where, no matter how exciting the Russian team was, Holland had the players to defeat them. They will be concerned by the fact that Germany brushed them aside 3-0 in a friendly at the end of last year.
Verdict: Very good odds for a side that took Spain all the way to extra time in the World Cup and are quite capable of beating everyone when they click.
England – 10/1
England’s status as fourth favourite with many bookies will have a lot to do with the betting taking place in the UK and there is always a patriotic factor that will lower the price.
It is difficult to say how well England will do, but they have hardly had the most stable preparation and the presence of John Terry allows for a reason for people to blame poor performance on, among other things. New manager Roy Hodgson was not the favourite for the job, but he does have good international experience with other nations.
England did not qualify for the tournament in 2008 and their record suggests they can’t expect anything better than semi-finals. They are in Group D, which contains France, Sweden and hosts Ukraine – so there are no guarantees of progression.
Verdict: Much too short; they are unlikely to make it past the quarter-finals and will have to pull off a series of Chelsea-esque upsets to win it. Don’t waste your money.
France – 11/1
South Africa 2010 was a catastrophe for the French FA where a group stage exit was preceded by a player revolt against unpopular manager Raymond Domenech and abysmal displays on the pitch – there was even a strike of sorts.
Change was required and it came in the form of Laurent Blanc, the then Bordeaux manager had already led his side to the Ligue 1 title and took over a team that had been radically changed through suspensions and retirements from some of the more senior players.
Blanc has transformed them into a young and skilful side with great speed and technique. A recent friendly win over Germany showcased some of the talent available, while Group D opponents England will be wary after being completely outplayed in a friendly in 2010.
Verdict: Very interesting and not bad for a dark horse pick. South Africa should be forgotten because the team has changed vastly.
A special mention must go out to Italy after they qualified in good shape and are trading at around 14/1, which is a decent price when you consider they are likely to play the winner of England’s group in the quarter-finals.
Portugal are way out at around 19s and that will be to do with the group they are in, but they could certainly spring a few suprises.
GMF’s EURO 2012 TIP – Netherlands
We felt it difficult to look outside of Germany and Spain for a winner – with the holders a tempting 5/2 – but the real value is in the Dutch, especially since they were World Cup finalists in 2010. Their price of 7/1 is mouth-watering if they get out of the group and we feel they will be able to do it.
The dark horse tip would be France; they are a relatively newly assembled side and have a number of match-winners in the squad.
What do you think of the odds? Who will you be betting on? Join in the debate, leave a comment below and let us know…