It’s strange this year, I don’t know why but there doesn’t seem to be as much excitement surrounding Euro 2012 than there was with previous European Championships or World Cups.
Maybe it’s the Diamond Jubilee or the forthcoming London Olympics. Whatever it is, the Euros have sneaked up on us and kick off this Friday.
I’ve always been fascinated by odds and betting but only restrict myself to the big big games and tournaments. This season I’m actually up about Â£120 – but that’s a result of quite a few bets over the entire season! And some fortunate PaddyPower money back specials (the Chelsea winning the Champions League one being the biggest!).
The bookies currently have Spain at favourites at 13/5, Germany at 3/1, Holland at 13/2, France at 10/1, England 14/1, Italy 16/1 and Portugal at 18/1.
I fancy putting a flutter on the winner but don’t fancy backing Spain and usually like going to outsiders. Germany are my pick this year but aren’t much value at 3/1. I cast my mind back to Euro 2004 when Greece, major outsiders at the start of the tournament at 150/1, pulled off one of the shocks of modern football.
But what chance of something like that happening again?
I’ve never fancied putting any money on England to win a tournament since Euro 1996 but at 14/1 they are tempting. And who knows, Hodgson might pull of a miracle if he gets his tactics right. Anything can happen in football and if anything Chelsea and Roberto Di Matteo are prime examples of how getting things right can bring success in knock-out football.
Like France, Spain have recently won the World Cup and European Championship on the bounce and I just can’t see them doing it again. Barcelona, who have most of the Spanish team in their ranks have been tired this season after so much pressure and success and you have to imagine that will take it’s toll this summer.
Germany have a great chance to win the tournament after years of developing their youth system which has improved greatly over the last 10 years or so. Plus you don’t know how they will react after Bayern lost out to Chelsea in such dramatic fashion. And you know the old saying of “Germany are always there or thereabouts”.
So for a decent outsider you’re looking at France, England, Italy or Portugal.
Italy have shown they can turn it on in international tournaments, while Portugal just haven’t clicked when it matters. France are a strange one, you don’t know which team will turn up – they have a lot of talent but you never know if they’ll have internal problems, like Dutch teams of old. Then we have England.
Is this the year to believe? Expectations are at an all time low and that might be the key. Hodgson has a reputation of getting the best out of average players and that’s what we have. I don’t agree with quite a few of the players he’s picked in his squad but maybe he believes they are players that have discipline and can carry out his game plan.
Is football coming home?
Who do you think will win Euro 2012? Leave your opinion below!