It’s been a good start for my Euro 2016 football betting/trading advice with France vs Romania ending 0-0 at half-time and Trading the Draw on the exchanges proving profitable, Spain beating Czech Republic with Under 2.5 goals in the match, Sweden not winning against Ireland and Slovakia not losing against Russia also being correct. Also, I advised Dimitri Payet at 66/1 to be The Player of the Tournament and he’s made a great start with a Man of the Match performance against Romania and 2 goals in two matches.
It was Another exciting day of Euro 2016 football yesterday that witnessed England finally ignite their campaign against Wales in Group B, Northern Ireland made history by recording their first ever Euro Championships win against Ukraine in Group C, while Germany faltered against a resilient Poland side, but a point was enough for both teams to stay a point ahead of Northern Ireland in Group C.
England’s young and inexperienced international squad were clearly nervous during a tense first half, knowing a defeat would take group qualification out of their hands. There was little cohesion up front with Sterling and Kane in particular struggling to get in to the match and things went from bad to worse when they fell behind to another Gareth Bale wonder free-kick minutes before half-time.
Ironically, falling behind was a blessing in disguise as it meant Hodgson had to make vital changes if his team were going to get back in to the match and the well overdue introduction of Vardy and Sturridge induced almost instant results, when Vardy pounced on the loose ball in the Wales ix-yard box and hooked it in for the equaliser. The changes gave England more presence and threat up front, even more so when teenager Marcus Rashford was introduced becoming the youngest ever England International beating compatriot Wayne Rooney’s record by four days.
However, while England were well on top for all of the second half they continued to be frustrated in and around the Wales box and when normal time had expired it looked like they would be left to rue another missed opportunity to pick up three points when the fourth official announced only three minutes of injury time.
This tournament has been one of last gasp goals and winners however, and this time it was England’s turn to delight their fans with one. Daniel Sturridge picked up the ball just outside of the Wales area, jinxed his way in to the box, played a clever one-two with Deli Ali, whose brilliant back flick fell perfectly in to the path of Sturridge, who then finished smartly by flicking the ball between Wales stopper Hennessey and his near post, which sent the England players and fans in to a delirious frenzy.
The late afternoon Group C match between Northern Ireland and Ukraine was another pulsating affair and it proved to be both an unbelievable and ecstatic 90 minutes for the home nations side who had never won a match at the Euro Championships. Manager O’Neill was not going to go down without a fight and he made sweeping changes to the squad that lost 1-0 against Poland.
O’Neill’s tactical changes worked wonders as veteran West Brom defender McAuley headed home Norwood’s perfect cross four minutes after the break and while they rode their luck at times during the second half, their second courtesy of McGinn six minutes in to stoppage time, was more than deserved. The three points leaves them a point behind Germany and Poland, who drew 0-0 in the evening kick-off.
Northern Ireland have the daunting task of facing Germany in their final game, while Poland will be expected to see off Ukraine who are yet to pick up a point. Northern Ireland have to beat Germany to guarantee qualification, or draw and hope Poland lose against Ukraine and then end up with a worse goal difference, both of which are possible but unlikely outcomes.
From a betting perspective today my best advice is to back Italy for the Tournament at 11/1 (1/2 odds a place). My gut instinct told me to back them at 18/1 which I’m now kicking myself for not doing, but in what looks like a wide open tournament so far I think they still represent value considering their performance against a decent Belgium side was arguably the best of the tournament so far. They have a rich history in major tournaments and with a wily, experienced coach at the helm, a great team spirit and ethos with bags of skill and quality I think they are more than capable of going all the way to the final.
From a match betting perspective today I think Italy and Croatia will be too strong for Sweden and Czech Republic if they field close to their strongest teams and the match win double is worth considering as it pays over 5/2.