Next to the World Cup, the European Championship is generally considered by most football fans to be the most prestigious tournament there is. This year’s edition, Euro 2012, will be taking place in the host nations of Poland and Ukraine from Friday June 8t to Sunday July 1st.
European football is undoubtedly among the strongest and most entertaining in the world due to the high number of elite national teams and domestic leagues. To qualify for the European Championship, a country needs to play consistent football during the long qualifying campaign. It’s very rare that a weak team makes the tournament even though the host nations do qualify automatically.
However, that doesn’t mean Euro 2012 will lack excitement and there won’t be any opportunities for several upsets. For example, with Spain being the current European and World Champions, it’ll be considered a bit of a surprise if they were beaten by anybody other than a world power. Being the kings of Europe and the world, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to most football and betting fans that they’re the favourites going into the tournament with the majority of bookmakers.
William Hill (Click the banner up top to bet with a free real money bonus) has the current odds of them taking the Championship at 5/2.
However, the Spanish will be without experienced defender Carles Puyol who will miss the event due to injury. Also, they may have to play without the services of striker David Villa, who is Spain’s all-time leading international scorer. The Spanish should have enough depth though to get out of Group C, which also features Italy, Ireland, and Croatia.
As usual, Germany is also one of the favourites heading into the tournament. The Germans were one of the best teams during the qualifying rounds, winning all 10 of their games and outscoring the opposition by to 34 to 7. The odds of them adding Euro 2012 to their long list of accomplishments are currently at 3/1.
Germany is one of the youngest and most exciting teams in Euro 2012, but will have their hands full in Group B, which is also known as the Group of Death, since they’ll be facing Holland, Portugal, and Denmark in the group games. Germany has always had the ability to score goals when needed and Mario Gomez has evolved into one of the best strikers on the planet. He’ll have midfielder Mesut Ozil on the pitch with him to help create quality scoring chances.
The Dutch will also once again have the chance to prove they’re one of the top footballing nations in the world. They’ve managed to reach three World Cup Finals so far, but have never lifted the trophy above their heads. Their last heartbreaking defeat came at the hands of Spain in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when they lost 1-0 in extra time. They’ve been more successful at the European Championship as they won it in 1988. The odds of them taking it again at Euro 2012 are presently at 13/2. They’re also in Group B with Germany and will have to be at their best to advance to the knockout stage.
England, who haven’t made it to the Final of a major tournament, since winning the World Cup at home at Wembley back in 1966 are at 9/1. England has a tough road ahead of them in Group D since they have to take on France, Sweden, and Ukraine. The task will be even harder considering that top striker Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two matches against France and Sweden and due to the fact that new manager Roy Hodgson has just been with the team for several weeks now. England did well enough in their qualifying campaign by winning their group.
France, who are previous World Cup and Euro winners, have improved immensely since their debacle at the 2010 World Cup and have been playing well of late, including a 2-1 win in Germany in February. France cut it close, but managed to win their qualifying group in the final game. William Hill lists them at 10/1 to win Euro 2012.
These are the latest odds on the tournament from William Hill.
Russia : 20/1
Czech Republic: 50/1
Republic of Ireland: 80/1