There are some familiar names topping the betting odds ahead of the European Championships but could someone spring a surprise?
Here we look at some of the dark horses for Euro 2020.
Croatia sit someway down the betting odds with their longest price sitting at 49/1. That’s insane for a nation that were runners up in the last World Cup! Admittedly that was a few years ago but they’re still a damn good outfit. Luka Modric is the obvious star name and even at xx he’s capable of pulling the strings at the top level whilst the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic are all more than capable footballers.
They should progress from their group with England, Scotland and the Czech Republic. It’s a group where, in honesty, you wouldn’t want to finish top with the winners facing a major stumbling block to the latter stages; that block being who they face in the first knockout round. They’ll face someone from the group of death (more on that imminently).
If Croatia do top their group then, yes, they’ll have a huge hurdle to overcome. If they win that round of 16 game though then it will probably be the biggest challenge done and dusted. Most people though will have them finishing second and that would give them a good route into the quarters – from there anything can happen.
So, we come to the holders and somehow they are an outsider this time round. Why? Well, largely because of that group of death we mentioned. Portugal find themselves pooled with France and Germany meaning many are tipping Portugal for an early exit. It would be a lie to say it couldn’t happen because it’s feasible they don’t get enough points to qualify, however, a price of 9/1 for them to win the tournament looks appealing.
For one thing, they know how to get the job done. If you rewind to 2016, they were far from the best team.
In fact, despite having Ronaldo on their ranks having Portugal win it all was as farfetched as Leicester winning the Premier League or the Toronto Raptors surprising the NBA odds in 2019 (edge.twinspires.com/nba/odds/). Always underachieving, even with their best generation in 2004, they finally overcame the odds and celebrated a major tournament win in 2016.
They certainly weren’t the easiest side on the eye but it’s knockout football and people only remember the winners. It means there is knowledge in the squad of what it takes to go deep in a tournament, and it could prove invaluable. Mind you, there is plenty of talent in the team too.
Consider the spine; Ruben Dias is one of the best defensive players about, Bruno Fernandes has proven how good he is at Man United and Cristiano Ronaldo is absolutely unplayable at times. Every single one of them would get in any other team at the tournament.
You can’t say that about many teams and, for that reason, it would be crazy to write them off. We’ve not even mentioned the likes of Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva and Danilo Pereira. The 9/1 price will plummet if they escape their group.
The last nation who could be dark horses for Euro 2020 is Italy. The Italians have fallen away from being considered the elite of world football in recent years but write them off at your peril. Their next match is the opener of the European Championship against Turkey and with Wales and Switzerland completing the group they’ll expect to qualify without too much sweat.
Former Man City boss Roberto Mancini, has been in charge of his homeland now for 25 months and they’re ticking over like a well oiled machine. Historically though, the Italians have been labelled as a side that limp their way through the group stages before finding form. This time round they arrive in the tournament on a 27 match unbeaten streak; if they avoid defeat in the group they’ll match a national record.
Finally, you have the squad. We’ve already touched on Portugal having the knowhow; Italy have bags of experience too with the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini at one end and a goal scorer in Ciro Immobile at the other. There surely has to be some value in the 19/2 maximum odds.
There you have it, three darks horses for Euro 2020. Who did we miss?