With the group stages done and dusted, the Euro 2016 tournament now kicks into life! There’s nothing life a good bit of knockout-football to separate the men from the boys.
But, which teams will be left standing come the final on the 10th of July – this is the million dollar question.
With a few odd results thrown up in the group stages, the two halves of the draw look distinctly lopsided with the bottom half teams containing holders Spain, the host nation France, Germany, who rarely every perform badly when the heat is on, Italy – another team more than capable of beating any one on their day and England.
Compare those giants of European football with Portugal, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary and Wales – the sides in the top half of the draw and you’ll see what we mean.
With all the talk of Cristiano Ronaldo finally discovering his mojo with his brace against Hungary in Portugal’s last group game, it might just be worth having a small punt on his side.
PaddyPower is offering a reasonable price of 7/1 on Portugal reaching the final or if you prefer a little each-way bet, then you can find PaddyPower who are offering 12/1 on Portugal to win the tournament with the each way paid at 2 places and 1/3 odds.
Although Portugal did not win 1 of their group games, having drawn all 3, the signs are there that Ronaldo is up for this and if there is any player in the world who can take a team single-handedly to a final – it is him. I did dismiss him in my last post as top scorer, and I still stand by that, but his influence has the ability to lead the team on.
Standing in their way in the round of the last 16 is Croatia. With some excellent performances so far, including a win over reigning champions Spain, Croatia will come into the game full of confidence but they will also have in the back of their minds that they have never beaten Portugal – not once! I believe this could just give the Portuguese the mental edge to see them over the line.
Coming through that it would mean a tie against Poland or Switzerland and without meaning to sound disrespectful to those nations, Ronaldo and his merry men will look upon themselves as favourites for that one. This would then lead to the semi final, with the bookmakers favouring Belgium to be their opponents. Again, not easy, as Belgium have some top quality players but it’s a semi final and anything can happen – especially with Ronaldo on the pitch.
I think a couple of quid each way is worth a punt.
Spain vs Portugal final?
Another intriguing bet we found is the 25/1 being offered on it being a Spain vs Portugal final.
Spain has a series of tough tests to overcome in the shape of Italy on Monday, then (most likely) Germany and a probable semi against France (although I’m rooting for the three lions). All three of those ties would be worthy finals to be fair but if any side can do it, then Spain is that side. They were unlucky against Croatia and have played some decent football so far in Euro 2016 so 1 British pound on this being the final is what I’m calling.
That’s all for this week’s 5 pound best bets – good luck and enjoy the football.
(Images courtesy of Google)