Upset winners are more common at the European Championships than the World Cup. Italy in 1982 and West Germany in 1954 were World Cup shocks – the rest were pretty much coronations. The best teams were clear at the start and more of than not one of those elite went on to win it.
The European Championships have offered better online betting action. Czechoslovakia in 1976, Denmark in 1992 and most surprisingly of all, Greece in 2004, proved that an attractively priced winner of the Henri Delaunay Trophy is possible.
But for all that, an upset looks extremely unlikely this year. Spain, Germany and the Netherlands are all short prices, and it’s hard to imagine all three coming unstuck before the Final on July 1.
Spain (+260 favourites at Sports Interaction) are going for an unprecedented run of three international titles in a row – Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and now Euro 2012. No one has ever done that before, nor has anyone successfully defended the European title.
But Spain has finally fulfilled its potential as a great football nation of the world, and the depth of Spanish talent is truly breathtaking. The one worry that the Spanish may have is that the team was getting old but the coming generation is already being integrated into the squad and it could be even better than what’s gone before.
And not far behind, in the black and white corner, there’s Germany (+275 at Sports Interaction). Germany is playing a glorious style of attacking football, much more expansive than its traditional attritional style, but Germany has a thorn in its side and that thorn is Spain. Germany got to the final of Euro 2008, where they lost to Spain. Germany lost the World Cup semi-final to Spain two years ago. Are the Spanish inside the Germans’ heads?
Spain won the World Cup final against the Netherlands, the third World Cup final the Dutch have lost without ever being Champions of the World. Holland (+550 at Sports Interaction) has, however, won the European Championships, when the golden generation of Gullit, Rijkaard and van Basten conquered all before them in 1988. The Dutch bring a lot of attacking potential to the table, as well as a burning desire to undo the damage that bad-tempered and cynical display against the Spanish in Johannesburg did to their once-glorious reputation as artists of the game.
Of the longer priced soccer betting opportunities, perhaps the French are the best shot. France (+1200 at Sports Interaction) is another of the high profile teams that had a nightmarish World Cup, but Laurent Blanc cleared house and put together a team brimming with youth and talent. The French will be contenders in Brazil in 2014 – could their day come two years sooner in Poland and Ukraine?
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