Euro 2012 Outright Winner Betting
The European Championships are almost upon us, and now is the time to start placing your bets if you want to get the best possible odds on all the likely winners of next summer’s big events.
For the first time in over 30 years, the UEFA European Championship finals have returned to Eastern Europe, taking place in Poland and the Ukraine, two nations that have never hosted such a major footballing competition before. With the qualifying stages almost complete we already have a much clearer picture of who the likely finalists, and therefore the best bets for outright winner, are going to be.
The much-vaunted Spanish side under Vicente del Bosque, current European AND World champions, will once again be the team to beat. Already on the verge of qualification, they are red hot favourites amongst both football fans and pundits alike in predictions of who will win the Euro 2012 – though they will face stern competition from the likes of Holland, Germany, Italy et al, and maybe, just maybe, next summer’s tournament will throw up one or two surprise contenders as well.
Read on to get the low down on all the favourites and wannabes and start placing your bets on the outright winner of Euro 2012!
Red Hot Favourites
When it comes to the favourites, look no further than the Spain – Vicente del Bosque’s side are quite simply the best ever Spanish team to grace a football field, and indeed perhaps one of the best ever sides full stop. Having destroyed all-comers in the two previous major football tournaments (Euro 2008 & World Cup 2010) with their fluid passing game and attacking mentality, Spanish confidence has never been so high. Spain will feel they can beat anyone, and with superb talents in the form of Antoni Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas running he midfield, and David Villa and Fernando Torres leading the line up front, it’s clear they are going to take some stopping.
What’s more, Spain are just as tight at the back as they are lethal up top, with the dominating Iker Casillas marshalling an excellent back four led by Barcelona’s Carlos Puyol. The likes of Holland, defeated by Spain in the last World Cup, and Germany, who lost the Euro 2008 final to Spain, will need to be at their very best if they are to take down La Roja and stop them becoming the first international side to win three major tournaments in a row.
So who can beat the Spanish? It’ll take a brave man to bet against anyone other than Spain, but one or two teams, will surely fancy themselves of causing an upset.
The Netherlands have looked particularly impressive in their qualifying matches so far, winning all six games to leave them on the brink of qualification with four matches to spare. Having turned over the likes of Sweden and Hungary, scoring 21 goals in the process, it’s quite clear that the Dutch are one of Europe’s in form teams of the moment. Added to that the revenge factor, with the Dutch determined to get over their disappointment of losing out in the World Cup final last year, and you have a very dangerous team that is more than capable of going all the way.
Germany too, will also be motivated by revenge, having fallen victim to Spain in their last two major finals. First, Germany were beaten by the Spanish in the Euro 2008 final, and then they fell to them again at the semi-finals in South Africa. However, a hugely talented and still youthful Germany have shown they are more than capable of bouncing back. They have destroyed all comers in their Group A qualifying league, winning seven out of seven games so far. Built around the incredible talents of Mesut Ozil, Phillipe Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and goal machine Miroslav Klose, the Germans need fear no one.
In form Italy will also be quietly hopeful of success this time around too. While the World Cup winning stars of 2006 have faded, they have been replaced by an exciting new generation of talent, such as Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Balotelli in attack, Claude Marchisio and Riccardo Montolivio in midfield and Domenico Criscito in defence. Backed up by more established stars such as Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi, the Italians have just the right mix of youth and experience that so often proves crucial to success. Since taking over the side in 2010, coach Cesare Prandelli has fomented a winning attitude in his team and given the belief that they can beat anyone. And following their recent friendly victory over Spain, who would bet against them?
Chancers for Euro 2012 Winner Betting
Outside of our four main contenders, the likes of England, France and Portugal will also be optimistic about their chances – although actually qualifying for the finals is far from a foregone conclusion for any of these sides.
However, England fans are already convinced that their team will be in Poland/Ukraine come next summer. What’s more, with the tactically astute Fabio Capello coach in charge and the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and John Terry forming the spine of a team that has played together for years now, perhaps, just perhaps, this could be their year. Certainly capable of beating anyone on their day, England can never be dismissed as potential winners.
France are still reeling from their atrocious performance during the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, which saw them come bottom of their group in the first round stage with just one point from three games. But with a new coach in Laurent Blanc running the show and a wealth of new call ups, Les Bleus have done a pretty good job so far in qualifying. While progress is not yet assured, two wins from their four remaining matches should be enough to secure top spot in the group. Should they get through as expected, a team containing Frank Ribery, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and perhaps Aston Villa’s Charles N’Zogbia will present a formidable challenge to anyone, and progress beyond the group stage would be seen as a minimum requirement to satisfy French fans.
Portugal are the last nation to make up Europe’s “Big Six”, but they are also struggling to even arrive at the big show. Though they currently lead their qualifying group, Group H remains a very tight affair with only goal difference separating Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., from Denmark and Norway. Portugal remain favourites in the group, but expect the Scandinavian sides to chase them all the way to the end. If Portugal make it through, expect them to provide stiff competition to anyone they come up against – any side that can put out players of the calibre of Ronaldo, Nani, Raul Meireles, Ricardo Carvalho and Joao Moutinho cannot be dismissed lightly.
Best of the Rest
Each edition of the European Championships seems to throw up a surprise contender, and with the likes of Denmark and Greece walking off with the ultimate prize in recent years, potential dark horses cannot be ignores in outright winner betting.
So who is capable of stealing the outright winner betting show this time around? Two teams that will be hopeful about their chances are the host nations, Poland and Denmark.
The Poles for one, have been showing signs of improvement under the highly experienced coach Franciszek Smuda. He has quietly forged Poland into a very solid, well organized unit something akin to Greece during Euro 2004. Recent results have been pretty impressive, especially the 2-1 victory over Argentina earlier this year. With home advantage and a talented young captain in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jakub Błaszczykowski directing things out on the pitch, Poland will certainly cause a few problems.
Ukraine will also enjoy home advantage during the group stage, and while recent friendly results haven’t exactly been encouraging they have plenty of recognized talent to call upon, least of all the diminutive Andriy Shevchenko, formerly of AC Milan and Chelsea and now plying his trade at home with Dynamo Kiev. Shevchenko still knows where the goal is, while veterans such as Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Maksym Kalynychenko, Andriy Voronin and Andriy Rusol have years of experience playing against the best in Europe. In front of their homes fans, Ukraine will be motivated and difficult to beat.
Of the rest, Sweden have been fairly impressive in qualifying, keeping pace with the Dutch and blasting 20 goals in six games in the process. Norway and Denmark, if they qualify, could well cause a few problems for opposing sides with their tenacious style of play. 2004 winners Greece are currently in pole position in their qualifying group, and if they get through then their fans at least, will be hopeful of a repeat of the performance they showed in Portugal. Last of all, don’t discount a lively looking Czech Republic team, Croatia, or the Russians – should they reach the Euro 2012 finals they all have the potential to make life difficult for some of Europe’s big guns.