Euro-vision: Which nations could cause a stir at this summer’s tournament?
With the domestic season coming to a close, and the Premier League title wrapped up by Leicester City, all eyes are turning to the summer football extravaganza that is Euro 2016.
So, we’ve cast our eyes over the favourites, the home nations and more, to give you a short and snappy preview of the excitement coming your way this summer.
The Favourites: France
It’s easy to see why Didier Deschamps’ men lead the betting for this tournament, despite not lifting a major trophy since Euro 2000 in Holland and Belgium.
The French have always taken advantage of being tournament hosts in the past, winning the 1984 Euros and 1998 World Cup, the only two major trophies held here before this summer. So, will good things come in threes for the 3/1 shots?
With a young and fearsome strikeforce, including Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman, and a midfield which includes the hugely talented Paul Pogba and tireless N’Golo Kante, there’s arguably no better squad in the tournament.
Predicted Euro 2016 Finish: Winners
The Home Nations: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland
While England are the most fancied home nation in terms of an outright Euros win, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have impressed throughout qualifying, and there’s a good chance we could see a solid tournament run from the former two.
Wales and England face off in Group B, with the Three Lions 5/6 to top the pile, while Wales are 5/1 to signal their intentions with a group win.
The trickiest test appears to await the Republic of Ireland, who share Group E with Belgium, Italy and Sweden. Still, this is the side that took four points from Germany in qualifying – so expect them to rise to the occasion and sneak through to the knockout rounds at 5/4.
Northern Ireland also find themselves in a tough group, having 2014 World Cup winners Germany, Poland and Ukraine to contend with. Still, with a minimum of two teams qualifying from every group, they could sneak through at 2/1.
Expect England to go the furthest of the four, though Wales (4/6) and the Republic or Ireland are likely to at least reach the knockouts. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are likely to find their opponents too hot to handle.
Predicted Euro 2016 Finish:
England – Semi-finals
Wales – Quarter-finals
Northern Ireland – Group Stage
Republic of Ireland – Round of 16
The Dark Horses: Portugal
While those backing France are likely to get a good run for their money from the favourites, others will be looking for a longer shot who can realistically win the tournament. Step forward 16/1 shots Portugal.
Boasting the talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s scored just the 47 goals in 45 for Real Madrid this season, they’ve got an incredible talisman in the ranks…and more.
From the flair footwork of Benfica’s Renato Sanches to the resurgent Nani, and an experienced, wily defence containing Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho, Portugal tick all the boxes. Oh, and they won seven of their eight games in Euro 2016 qualifying, conceding just five times in the process. Write them off at your peril.
Predicted Euro 2016 Finish: Finalists
The Surprise Entry: Albania
While the consummate ease with which Wales and Northern Ireland wrapped up their spots at the Euros caused many to sit up and take notice, one side whose appearance in the coming tournament really surprised football fans, was Albania.
The Balkans outfit will be setting off to their first ever European Championships this summer, on the back of a second-placed finish in Qualifying Group I, which included a sensational 1-0 win in Portugal and a double over Armenia.
Qualification from Group A (7/4) is a realistic aim for Gianni De Biasi’s men, with manageable games against Romania and Switzerland, but don’t expect the 300/1 shots to get any further than that.
Then again, after this season, who would dare write off a rank outsider achieving glory?
Predicted Euro 2016 Finish: Group Stage
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.