Euro2012 Football Championship Teams – Find Out the Facts and Figures
Who is the hottest bet for Euro 2012?
This is a tournament in which the usual suspects like Germany have walked away with the trophy on many occasions, but it is also an opportunity for shock results.
Few, if any, could have expected Denmark to win in 1992. They only joined the tournament when Yugoslavia were expelled for having a civil war. And Greece were completely unheralded in 2004. Add to that the fact that 1988 provided a glorious exception to the Dutch tradition for underachievement and this is a hard one to call.
A tiki-taka triumph?
Holders Spain are seen by many as the obvious favourites. If the tournament could be decided on possession statistics, the Tiki-taka game of Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas would guarantee them glory. But even the world and European champions must have chinks in their armour. With Carles Puyol a probable absentee and David Villa’s participation in doubt, weaknesses may just emerge. On the other hand, Fernando Torres has suddenly learned how to score goals again.
The Dutch may be another hot tip, with footballer of the year Robin van Persie leading an attack that also features the free-scoring Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and the quicksilver Arjen Robben. Their style is not quite Total Football these days, but they are a hugely talented outfit.
Paying the penalty
Germany will have plenty of backers, especially if the knock-out rounds feature plenty of draws needing penalty shoot-outs to settle them. Featuring a young, mobile side playing a different style to their efficient but dour predecessors, they might not have won an international trophy since 1996, but the Jancker years are well behind them.
Other persistent trophy winners like Italy will have their backers too, even if they have to rely on the utterly unreliable Mario Balotelli for goals. France are not as strong as in their great years of 1998-2006, but in the absence of a Zidane they are still a class act and have a point to prove after the World Cup meltdown in South Africa.
Of the other contenders, Portugal may lack quality in depth, but they do have Ronaldo. And patriotic punters may find it hard to resist England, hoping Roy Hodgson has some magic up his sleeve and Wayne Rooney’s suspension for the first two games will not have terminal consequences.
Day in the sun
Betting on teams is not just about picking winners though. You can also back teams to win their group, or at least qualify. So while the likes of Ireland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Russia and Greece may be among the less likely to win the tournament, they may still offer a tempting bet.
And with betting available on individual matches, it may be worth looking out for potential shocks. This is a tournament where the favourites often fail, the holders have never retained the trophy and paupers have become the kings. Euro 2012 may be about to dish up more of the same.