Euro 2012 Outright Betting Preview
Now the qualifying is over and the draw has been made the countdown to Euro 2012 has begun. Sixteen teams will be heading to Poland and Ukraine next June in what promises to be an intriguing and extremely hard fought European Championships.
It’s possible to make a case for all the teams in the draw but our guide picks out some of the teams to watch next summer.
Any doubt over Spain’s big tournament mentality has been well and truly banished over the last four years. The reigning European and World Cup holders have been the dominant team in world football for almost half a decade and are the worthy 5/2 favourites to retain their title.
Spain and Germany are the shortest prices for Euro 2012, and rightly so
The Spanish squad reads like a Who’s Who of world football. From captain Iker Casillas to midfield geniuses Andres Iniesta and Xaviand forward David Villa the squad oozes class and, more importantly, two recent trophies show they have the mentality to win.
The only question surrounding Spain is whether there’s enough firepower in the event of an injury to David Villa. ConsideringFernando Torres’ awful form, there’s not much depth in the Spain attack with just Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente and the inexperienced (at least in international terms) Alvaro Negredo and Manu del Moralas reserves.
A 100% record, ten wins and 34 goals saw Germany qualify with ease and Joachim Low’s side are the 10/3 second favourites to win their fourth European Championships.
Germany’s team is based on a mixture of youth and experience although it’s worth mentioning that even the experienced players are only in their mid twenties. Bastian Schweinsteiger is 27 and has 95 caps while forward Lukas Podolski is 26 and has 90 caps to his name.
Mario Gomez has stepped into Miroslav Klose’s shoes at both Bayern Munich and internationally although the experienced Lazio striker bagged a goal in Germany’s recent 3-0 friendly win over Holland. With the likes of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Toni Kroos to call on, Low is blessed with plenty of young attacking options. They’re my tip for the title.
Holland also qualified with ease netting an average of almost four goals a game and could also replicate their run to the World Cup Final here. In Robin van Persie they have arguably the form player in European football whilst it’s worth remembering that Klaas Jan Huntelaar has an impressive record of 30 goals in just 49 internationals.
Whether their defence is good enough, I’m not sure, but Bert van Maarwijk’s side should certainly be attractive to watch.
The ones to watch
Not including England, Italy and France amongst the favourites for the European Championship shows how the balance of power has shifted in recent years.
England are 9/1 to win in Poland and the Ukraine although they will have to do much of the hard work without talismanic striker Wayne Rooney. Despite Fabio Capello’s recent evolution, I can’t see England troubling the big guns when it matters.
France and Italy are teams in progress after disappointing World Cup performances. Laurent Blanc is slowly rebuilding Les Bleus but they are not the team they were a decade ago. The loss of Antonio Cassano will damage Italy’s chances although they should be tough to beat – as normal.
Of the less fancied teams, I fancy Poland and the Republic of Ireland to cause one or two surprises.
Poland’s world ranking has suffered over the last year or two but this has been partly due to not playing any competitive fixtures as the host nation. The hosts are 50/1 to win Euro 2012 and patriotic backing from their supporters could certainly help. A host nation invariably goes on a good run at an international championships and I think it could be Poland in 2012.
While the draw may not have been kind to Ireland, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Under Giovanni Trappatoni, the Irish have become extremely difficult to beat and have conceded just two goals in their last eleven matches. With an extremely strong defence and attackers capable of a moment of magic, the underdogs could very well punch above their weight at a major tournament again.
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