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  • Chris Sobey

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England’s sorry Euro 2016 campaign came to an end last night at the hands of minnows Iceland and it’s safe to say the performance was one of the most embarrassing in there International history. Things could have been so different if England had built on taking an early lead via the penalty spot, but instead of protecting their lead and building on it, they allowed Iceland to equalise minutes later and then shockingly take the lead just shy of the 20 minute mark.

England never looked at ease within the system they had been coached to play, especially in attack where there was little understanding, no cohesion or penetration. As time elapsed, the pressure mounted and the less assured the players looked.

Hodgson made changes during the second half in an attempt to improve things, but replacing Dier for Wilshere proved fruitless as he played too deep to influence the game, Vardy came on for the ineffective Sterling and was lively, but could not influence the game with no space to run in behind, and brining on Rashford for Ronney with minutes remaining made no sense whatsoever.

After the game it was no surprise that Hodgson resigned immediately and all England fans can hope for now is that the younger player’s mental scars will not run too deep, that the FA will appoint a manager who has charisma and can handle the pressure, and most importantly someone who has experienced success at International level.

The one other game on Monday night between one of my outright selections Italy and Spain also produced an upset, and it was the unfancied Italians who progressed to the quarter-finals, thanks to goals in either half from Chiellini and the second in injury time from Southampton striker Pelle.

We are now down to the quarter-final stage of Euro 2016 and he last eight teams will face each other between June 30th and July 3rd for a place in the semi-finals that are played on July 6th and 7th.

First up will be Poland against Portugal tomorrow, and it’s safe to say not many people expected Portugal to reach this stage after scraping through to the last-16 stage via the backdoor. However, they turned the form book on its head by thwarting many people’s dark horses Croatia 1-0, and now get the chance to reach the semi-finals, which will be a miraculous achievement if they do considering how they started the tournament.

Portugal, like Poland, are still unbeaten in the tournament so far and they’ve scored five goals and conceded four to date (scored and conceded 3 in one game against Hungary in the Group stages). Poland have scored 3 and conceded only 1 goal so far in the tournament, which was a wonder strike by Switzerland’s Shaqiri last time out. They are the only team to keep a clean sheet against Germany so far and with Portugal looking far more solid defensively against Croatia it’s unlikely this encounter will be a high scoring affair.

On Friday the UK will be cheering on their one remaining representative at Euro 2016 Wales, who face a stiff task against Belgium. I advised Belgium pre-tournament at 11/1, they are now down to 4/1 and you can consider cashing out for a guaranteed profit or covering your stake for a free bet.

Belgium were extremely impressive beating Hungary 4-0 last time out, with Chelsea star Hazard finally producing a match winning performance. However, Wales will take solace from the fact there unbeaten against Belgium in their last three competitive encounters, winning the most recent 1-0 in June last year and drawing the other two.

Wales have scored 6 and conceded 3 goals so far in the tournament, while Belgium have scored eight and conceded 2. This encounter has all the hallmarks of an open, high scoring affair, and from a betting perspective the best bet for me looks to be Belgium to Win and Over 2.5 Goals in the match.

On Saturday we have the tie of the quarter-finals between joint favourites Germany and Italy (7/1) and on Saturday the final quarter-final encounter between hosts France and Iceland. Tune in to my blog on Friday when I will provide a preview of these two games.


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