Euro 2016 betting: Roy's young lions have a chance but don't write off Germany

 
Ben Cleminson
FBL-EURO-2016-FRIENDLY-GER-ITA
Germany’s Thomas Muller scored nine times in Euro 2016 qualifying (Source: Getty)

France's four-week festival of football kicks off on Friday evening as Euro 2016 gets under way.

The last two editions of the European Championships have been dominated by Spain, who won in 2008 and 2012.

However, the Spanish crown has slipped in the last four years, meaning there are plenty of sides who will fancy their chances of lifting the trophy on 10 July.

The hosts, France, are the bookies' favourites.

Sure to be backed by raucous crowds across the country, home advantage could play a decisive role for a squad filled with quality.

This summer could be the tournament in which Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann come of age, and with a strong spine from back to front they will take some stopping.

However, Karim Benzema will be a huge loss in attack; I’m not sure whether Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud is quite good enough against elite defences. Les Bleus’ 3/1 with Betway strikes me as too short.

England’s young side could spring a few surprises, especially given the way that Roy Hodgson’s men timidly exited the 2014 World Cup at the group stage.

Forward Harry Kane is as good as any in Europe, and with England in the easier half of the draw we could finally see a Three Lions tournament performance to be proud of.

I like the look of Germany, however.

While there have been jitters in qualifying, the Germans always pull it together for the finals.

Despite not being an out-and-out striker Thomas Muller’s eye for goal is remarkable and, fed by the likes of Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos, he could fire his side to glory.

That dynamic attacking side is complemented by a sturdy defence, with new Bayern Munich man Mats Hummels one of the best defenders in the tournament, and club-mate Manuel Neuer arguably one of the best goalkeepers of all time.

Betway make them 9/2 to lift the trophy, which I suggest backing.

The Euros usually throws up a surprise package, as Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004 can testify.

Croatia are my dark horses this year.

Boasting Champions League winners Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic in midfield, I think they could upset a few – including Spain, who are in the same group.

Reaching the quarter-finals in Sporting Index’s outright index gives a team 25 points (with 50 to the semi-finalists, 75 to the losing finalists and 100 points to the winner). With Croatia available at 22, I will be buying.

Pointers

Germany to win Euro 2016 9/2 (Betway)

Buy Croatia in Euro 2016 outright index 22 (Sporting Index)

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