The Uefa European Championships finally get underway today and after having to survive two tedious weeks without any football, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait! You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really count the friendly internationals. Especially the England ones!
Who is going to win the tournament? Well, at the time of writing the latest odds look like this:
Czech Republic 20/1
The odds are literally changing by the minute, but this is a pretty fair representation of how most bookies see the runners and riders. Everyone has Germany as the favourites followed by Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Holland.
As someone who is in no way a betting expert and has never won any money betting on football, (I once bet ten pounds that Watford would win the Premier League at 100/1. We were relegated!) I feel fully qualified to pass on my tips for the tournament. I should add the warning that the foolish move of following my recommendations could turn out to be an expensive hobby!
So where should you be investing your ten Euros in order to make some money out of the tournament? We all like to have a big win on a rank outsider but under no circumstances would I consider throwing my money away on any of Austria, Turkey, Poland or Romania. These teams have no chance. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a little unfair on Romania who are a decent side but getting drawn in the so called Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgroup of deathÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with Italy, France and Holland has put paid to any ideas of further progression in the tournament the Romanians may have harbored.
Of the middle ranked teams are any of them worth a bet? Well from Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Russia, Czech Republic and Croatia, there could well be a surprise package. Despite being the current champions and entering the tournament with the best qualification record, you can still get 33/1 for Greece. That has to be a decent each way bet.
For the best chance of winning a lot, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d put my money on Croatia at 14/1. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m surprised theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not the favourites. They beat England after all and we would undoubtedly have won it if weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been there! 🙂
Realistically it seems to come down to one of the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbig sixÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. The winners of the tournament are likely to come from Holland, France, Portugal, Italy, Spain or Germany. Of course, with Holland, France and Italy in the same group, one of those teams wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even make the quarter final stage.
Prediction one: France to be eliminated from the ‘group of death’.
The other five teams from the list of favourites will all make it to the quarter finals. They will all succeed apart from Holland who will be defeated by Spain.
Prediction two: Semi-final line-up will be Portugal v Germany and Italy v Spain.
The semi-finals will be fascinating battles with contrasting styles in both games. The full of flair and temperamental Portuguese against the methodical and efficient Germans. The great defence of the Italians against the unpredictability of the Spanish. It will be great.
Prediction three: Final will be Germany v Italy.
These two great footballing nations will battle it out in the final of EuropeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s greatest competition. Two more worthy finalists it would be hard to find. Italy will be trying to emulate the French side that held both the World Cup and European Championships in 1998 and 2000, but they will fall slightly short at the final hurdle.
Prediction four: Germany will be champions of Europe.
I must immediately apologise to all German fans as I have never yet got a major prediction right and I may well have just given Joachim LÃƒÂ¶wÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team the kiss of death!
Despite my poor previous record of abysmal predictions I have once again been prepared to put my neck on the line and make four very bold predictions. Is anyone else brave enough to do so? Do you think you know better, or will you accept that with my vast knowledge (?) of European football I have got it absolutely right?
Come on, I want you all to make the same four predictions:
1. Who will be knocked out of the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgroup of deathÃ¢â‚¬â„¢?
2. Semi-Final line-up
3. The Final
4. The winners
Once again, anyone who gets it all right will receive a truly honourable mention in the review of the tournament in this column.
Good luck to you all.
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