Thursday, 23 June 2016

Euro 2016 - Football's Coming Home

What a remarkable few days of football we've had. It's great to see England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland all through to the knock off stages of Euro 2016. Some failed to dazzle on their way there (England as per usual!) while others really gave it their all. I must say that the performance on Wednesday by the Republic of Ireland against Italy really was the cherry on the cake. Talk about leaving it all on the field. The celebrations afterwards  from the fans made for such a great sporting moment.

It would be amazing to see all four teams make it through the first round of the knockouts, but aside from being very unlikely in normal circumstances, it's impossible due to the fact that Wales and Northern Ireland are due to meet. That's a pity in one sense, but on the other hand at least one of them will be progressing to at least the quarter finals and in the easier side of the draw too! England are in the other side of the draw and have some tough games down the line if they can overcome the tournaments surprise package, Iceland.

Current Odds for games involving  England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland:

Saturday 25th June: Wales  17/16    Draw 21/20   Northern Ireland   41/10
Sunday 26th June: France  7/15    Draw 16/5     Republic of Ireland 21/2
Monday 27th June: England  4/7  Draw 56/19   Iceland   8/1

No doubt the patriotic pound will find its way to people lumping onto England at 4/7, but for impartial observers the real dream result would yet another Republic of Ireland win, this time against hosts France. Of course that can't be said to be particularly likely, but we can dream. No bets for me this time around, I'm just enjoying the tournament!



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Euro 2016 – Top Goalscorer

Having scored in all three Group B games, including from two direct free-kicks, Gareth Bale finds himself joint favourite, at 5/1, alongside Spanish striker Alvaro Morata to become the top goalscorer at Euro 2016. Wales were heavily reliant on the world-class talent of Bale, who scored seven of their 11 goals, in qualifying and the 26-year-old ran rings around aging central defenders Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski in the 3-0 demolition of Russia in the final group game.

Victory in Toulouse meant that Wales leapfrogged England to win Group B and will play a third-place team from Group A, C or D in Paris on Saturday in the last 16. Wales’ manager Chris Coleman will, no doubt, be keen to avoid Germany, Croatia and possibly Poland, but other possible opponents include Albania, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, and Turkey, all of whom can be considered rank outsiders to progress to the latter stages of the tournament.

Wales have other attacking options, but the individual brilliance of Bale seems sure to provide more memorable moments and, whoever they play in the last 16, he looks a decent bet to become top goalscorer.

Selection: Gareth Bale – Top Goalscorer Euro 2016 (5/1 with NetBet and bwin.com)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

England vs Wales (Euro 2016)

england vs wales
I watched today's clash between Slovakia and Russia with interest, in part to see how the Welsh and English performances would stand up in comparison. What a fun game to watch it was with Slovakia dominating for the majority of the watch, but Russia going into do-or-die mode for the last fifteen minutes. It wasn't enough for Russia though, leaving them with it all to do in their final match against Wales. Wales of course, also need to impress in at least one of their other two group games and it's certainly hard to count them out when they've had such a determined start.

England's game against Russia was one sided enough to have confidence that they'll make it through the group, but as with everything involving England it often feels like a bit of a struggle along the way. They're understandably firm favourites against Wales at 4/7 (the draw is 57/17 and Wales to win is 13/2). I tend to steer clear of odds-ons but I can well understand why some would place their patriotic pound on England in hope of doing the business. The same can be said for Wales supporters really, as they have a right to be confident of the teams abilities and will have something else to cheer about too if their 13/2 bet comes up!

HT-FT England at 5/4 is perhaps the bet to go for if you're confident of England putting in a good performance from the off. Also, with all of these low scoring games so far I (still) fancy a bit of a goalfest, so once against will add Over 2.5 goals into the mix.

In some ways it's a win-win. England 'should' win, but if they turn in a flop performance, Wales are likely through the group and I'll become an honourary Welsh Dragon for the rest of the tournament. Tune in to the game on BBC, Thursday at 2pm!

Selections:  England HT-FT@ 5/4  Over 2.5 Goals @ 11/10

Saturday, 11 June 2016

England vs Russia (Euro 2016)

It seems like we're all so caught up in the Brexit news cycle that the Euros has very much taken a backseat. Whether that will result in us putting in a first class performance for a change or the 'same old, same old' is anyones guess.  It at least ensured that I missed the first half of the bizarre opening ceremony though so I'm already reaping the benefits of not paying much attention thus far.

Our friendlies leading up to this have been something of a mixed bag in my view but certainly not without promise. We have a few minor injuries in the team but nothing too serious so at minimum we have few excuses to not give this a good go. We're hearing that Jamie Vardy might not start but that's an unknown at the moment and besides, there's much talent in this young team even without him. Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Igor Denisov will not take part in the game, or in fact the competition, after suffering bad injuries post selection. Hodgson admits that the England squad are still a work in progress, so lets hope that they can peak at the right time.

The current betting odds put England at 5/6, the draw 11/5 and Russia 15/4. For those of the less patriotic variety the odds for a Russia win really aren't that bad. I'm more inclined to go with Over 2.5 goals at 29/20 though on account that our defence at times can leave a little to be desired - but at the same time we're quite strong up front. Both teams will be looking to impress in this first group game so it wouldn't surprise me to see the goals going in. Granted Russia's games can be low scoring, but their very last result was France 4 - Russsia 2, so I think there's plenty of scope for a high score, especially if there's an early goal.

Selection: Over 2.5 Goals at 29/20