Wales not going to Rome for a holiday
Tournament football is supposed to be difficult. Just ask England. But their neighbours Wales are continuing to make is look easy. The Dragons have now played eight matches in the European Championships and they have lost just twice. Avoid defeat against Italy will see Rob Page’s side qualifying for the Round of 16.
Watching the Italians cruise to back-to-back 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland sent a message to their rivals, but Roberto Mancini may rest a few of his star players in readiness for the business end of the tournament. Skipper and veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini withdrew himself from the Azzurri’s victory over the Swiss to prevent damaging his thigh any further.
While Chiellini may miss out, midfielder Marco Verratti is expected to play to improve his match fitness ahead of Italy’s Round of 16 match. Winning their opening two games by a 6-0 combined score without Verratti is a scary proposition for the rest of the Euros, but Wales will focus on getting what they need from this game. With the exception of a missed penalty in their 2-0 win over the Turks, Gareth Bale looks back to his best.
The Welsh captain had two assists on Wednesday and he is 9/1 to provide an assist at anytime against the Italians. Wales can be backed at 8.615/2 to win their final group game while Mancini’s men are 1.584/7. Momentum is with the Welsh and they will look to build on their opening two matches with a solid performance against the 6/1 second favourites.
How far can Wales go? Can they get to the semis like they did five years ago? Page’s squad are 5/1 to reach the semi-finals and 19/1 to go one better and reach the final. These might sound fanciful, but in Danny Ward, Wales have one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament with eight very crucial saves so far.
And in Bale, they have a world class player capable of turning a game on its head. Bale can be backed at 75.074/1 to be Player of the Tournament. Whatever happens in the Italian capital, you can expect to hear a few renditions of ‘Please Don’t Take Me Home’. The Welsh fans following their team this summer shouldn’t have to worry about return flights home just yet.
Read David Farrar’s preview and tips for Italy v Wales here
Swiss and Turks battle to avoid bottom spot
Two of the biggest disappointments of the Euros so far, have been the performances of both Turkey and Switzerland. A combined one goal in four matches is a poor return for both sides who are battling it out to avoid finishing bottom of Group A. Switzerland can be backed at 4.57/2 to be the group’s basement side while Turkey are 1.222/9 to finish bottom of Group A.
With one point to their name, Vladimir Petkovic’s Switzerland are in the slightly better position than Turkey who have won just one of their last seven matches at the Euros. The tournament will not miss either of these sides, but one of them could make it to the second round. Turkey are 22/1 to qualify which requires them to win this game.
Turkey have now failed to score in three of their last four internationals
A win will see the Swiss move to four points which should be enough to see them advance. But their performances to date will have turned many away from backing them to achieve anything. If they do make it through the group, they will be seen as making up the numbers. Switzerland are 9/5 to be eliminated in the Round of 16.
Read David Farrar’s preview and tips for Switzerland v Turkey here
Hungary take point from faltering France
Euro 2020 came within 24 minutes of witnessing the biggest upset so far on the ninth day of the competition. You have to feel for Hungary who just couldn’t hang to the three points after Attila Fiola gave the home side the lead at the end of the first half. France looked disjointed and were baled out by Antoine Griezmann’s equaliser in the 66th minute.
France were expected to win this game comfortably, but with the majority of a packed Puskas Arena in Budapest cheering them on, Hungary almost played their way back into the conversation as to who qualifies from the group. Hungary remain the underdogs at 13.012/1 on the exchange to qualify from the group.
France have had two goals disallowed by VAR and have hit the post with two efforts during the tournament so far
Didier Deschamps’ side remain favourite at 7/2 to add the Henri Delaunay trophy to the World Cup they have in their possession. Kylian Mbappe was 9/1 before the tournament to win the Golden Boot but after blanks in his opening two matches, those odds have drifted to 26.025/1 on the exchange.
France aren’t the only highly fancied nation to struggle in their second group match. England were second favourites at 5/1 before the tournament started, but were held to a goalless draw by Scotland on Friday. The French stay top of the outright winners market, but England have drifted to fourth favourites and can be backed at 10.09/1 on the exchange to win the Euros.
Group F wide open after Germans beat Portugal
It looked like Group F was following a straightforward path with France and Portugal battling it out for the top two spots with Germany lucky to make it through if they finished third. But after the Germans beat Portugal, or rather Portugal beat themselves with two own goals, the group has been blown wide open.
Portugal, defending champs, defended like chumps with Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro each scoring an own goal before Kai Havertz and Robin Gosens added their names to the scoresheet. Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his first goal against Germany, opened the scoring while Diogo Jota ended the goal-fest in the tournament’s most entertaining game so far.
Before taking on Portugal, Germany were 15/2 to win the group. They are now 10/11 on the sportsbook to finish top which might not be beyond Joachim Low’s squad who face Hungary in Munich on Wednesday. Portugal were 17/10 to win Group F before facing Germany, but they can be backed at 19.5.
The last six meetings between Portugal and Germany have now produced 23 goals at an average of 3.83 goals per game. They are 33/1 to meet in the final
This much-needed win will provide the momentum Germany need to prepare them for another Wembley final. The last time they won the Euros was in 1996, when they beat the Czech Republic at the Twin Towers.
The Stadium might have changed since then, but Germany’s spirit in tournament football remains the same. With the exception of the occasional blip, they are more often then not, one of the last to leave a tournament. Germany were 11/1 to win the Euros, their fourth European title, but they can now be backed at 7.26/1 on the exchange while Portugal are 11.521/2 to retain their title.
Ronaldo moved to joint top of the goalscoring list with Patrik Schick on three goals. The Portugal skipper started the tournament 12/1 to win the Golden Boot, but he is now the favourite and can be backed at 4.47/2 to add another trophy to his collection.
Underperforming Spain could pay the penalty
If Spain fail to qualify for the knockout stage, then they will only have themselves to blame. A catalogue of missed opportunities littered their 1-1 draw with Poland in their second match in Group E. None more so than Gerard Moreno’s penalty that hit the post and rebounded to Alvaro Morata who placed his follow-up wide.
Gerard Moreno’s missed penalty against Poland was the fifth missed penalty at Euro 2020, one more than Euro 2016
The draw leaves the group wide open with all four teams facing qualification and elimination in equal measures. Two of Europe’s elite strikers were on target for their nation with Morata netting his 20th goal for Spain while Robert Lewandowski scoring his 67th goal for the Poles.
Sweden top the group on four points ahead of the final matches, a point clear of Slovakia, with Spain on two points and Poland on one. So who wins the group? The Swedes are 5/4 on the sportsbook to finish first, while Slovakia, who face Swedes, are 12/1 to win the group. Spain are 5/6 to top the group while Poland are 20/1 to qualify as group winners.
This group has failed to capture the imagination with just six goals scored in the four matches played so far. Spain were 7/1 before the tournament began to win the Euros, and they can be backed at 11.010/1 on the exchange. However, their displays won’t have convinced many and they are 11.521/2 to lay.