The eagerly awaited Euro 2016 Championships have finally arrived and expectation for England is as high as ever.
Sadly, England very rarely deliver in these competitions but we live in hope that the new generation will play without fear and with lots of expression and do us proud. Hopefully they will take a leaf out of the Cricketers book and see how fearless cricket can release the immense ability that some possess. Will that be enough?
Group A – looks like an ideal place for the hosts to be seen with only Switzerland providing stern opposition. As long as Didier Deschamp has his men fired up and the Gallic lethargy and complacency doesn’t take over then we expect them, like everyone else, to qualify top of their group with the Swiss taking the runner up spot. Nothing too clever there but it does help us frame the knockout stage.
Group B – features England and whilst this isn’t too exciting as a goal scoring group it will test the will of the English as both Russia and Slovakia play hard football. Russia will be tough to break down with almost all of their squad playing domestic football and Slovakia seem to have a few quality players across the park who can make life difficult. Sadly the same can not be said for Wales. Whilst Gareth Bale is an outstanding footballer he cant go and get the ball and then run it down the pitch all game to score. They just don’t have enough class across the field to compete and will finish bottom of this group. England need to score goals and if they do they will win the group. They have more firepower up front then any other team in their group and we expect them to win Group B. Russia should slide through, probably on goal difference as we don’t think they will concede many.
Group C – looks a hard task for our Northern Irish team. They are up against a German side who have class across every position and will win this group. I know they haven’t shown too much of it recently but they always play well in big cups and this will be no exception. Poland look booked for second place with the ability to score goals and play physical football, which leaves NI and Ukraine to fight out 3rd place and we think Ukraine will take that position.
Group D – is aptly lettered as this looks like the Tournament group of death – every tournament has one and normally England are in it. Spain will probably win it because they just ooze class in every position but they cant afford to ease up. Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic are all decent sides with match winners and this looks a right scrabble for 2nd and 3rd with we think, the 3rd place qualifier coming from this group as well. We have Croatia qualifying second and Turkey edging the Czech Republic out of the frame.
Group E – is again an interesting group with lots of betting opportunities. Our dark horse for the semi’s is in this group as we think Belgium are the class act this year and that they can qualify first over the rather dull but effective Italian side. Sweden who with Italy look to struggle to score goals should take 3rd because the Republic of Ireland, who always play with passion have a lot better jockeys and horses than they do footballers.
Group F – is dull and holds little interest. Iceland and Hungary are poor. Portugal have such expectation behind them every time they play and I am sure they will top the group but they are always so short, they are bit liking backing a Roger Varian horse, always over bet. Austria look OK. efficient and capable but no killer blow. They should take the runner up spot in the group.
So if we are right what does this all mean. For us it means this. England play Portugal in the quarter final and win that to make it to the Semis. Spain Play Poland in the last 8 and beat them to face England. France play Austria in the same round and France triumph on their way to winning the cup and our upset is that in the final quarter Germany get beaten by Belgium who then play France in that semi Final.
Our pre-tournament bets look like this.