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Jun 05

The Ultimate Euro 2016 Betting Guide: Part 1

unnamed-42Hello everyone and welcome to our guide on all things Euro 2016. This guide will walk through all the squads and groups at this years Euros and look to answer the question, who or what should I bet on this summer? Now, like every tournament we expect more than one shock, more likely or not coming from England, so don’t take the guide as gospel, especially our golden boot suggestions. If the last World Cup is anything to go by, it will be difficult to choose a winner, so try and use this guide as something that can help you make your own final decisions and let’s all try and make some money this summer.

The Squads

This section will look through each squad and evaluate their chances in this year’s competition. It will pick out key players, players to watch and look at each nation’s chances this summer, plus offer tips on a range of markers, from golden boot winner, to amount of goals scored and even how far a nation may progress. Please be aware though, these squads are mainly provisional ones and may have changed since we started writing this piece.

Header_Euros_AlbaniaA pretty emotional competition for Albania, competing in their first ever major tournament, having secured second spot, after an impressive 3-0 over Armenia in their final fixture. Along the way they beat Portugal in Portugal, as well as beating and drawing with France in the centralized friendlies, who were effectively the sixth member of the group.
Though the side lacks any form of goal threat, scoring only 7 goals in 7 games, after they were handed a 3-0 win against Serbia. These 7 goals, meant they averaged a goal a game in qualifying which was scored by six different players and one own goal.

Key Man: Lorik Cana

The heartbeat of Albania’s side, the former Sunderland man is closing in on his 100th cap and nobody will feel prouder when they step out for Albania’s first game at the finals. Currently playing for Nantes, Cana is not only the most experienced player of the squad but the only one to have ever really played at the highest level in club football. He may not set the tournament on fire, scoring goals and lifting the coveted trophy, but his leadership skills will be the spearhead of anything good the nation does this summer.

Player to Watch: Taulant Xhaka

The lesser-known of the Xhaka brothers, the Swiss-born, Taulant has become an important player for Albania since debuting in 2014. A versatile footballer across defence or midfield, he plays intelligently and tenaciously in the middle of the park for his country, similar to the role his brother plays for Switzerland. People don’t expect much from Albania this summer, but they won’t be going down without a fight and performances from Xhaka will be key to this.

(provisional 27-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha (Lazio), Alban Hoxha (Partizani), Orges Shehi (Skenderbeu)

Defenders: Lorik Cana (Nantes), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone), Berat Gjimshiti (Atalanta), Mergim Mavraj (Koln), Amir Rrahmani (Split), Elseid Hysaj (Napoli), Ansi Agolli (Qarabag), Frederic Veseli (Lugano), Naser Aliji (Basel)

Midfielders: Ledjan Memushaj (Pescara), Ergys Kace (PAOK), Andi Lila (Giannina), Migjen Basha (Como), Odise Roshi (Rijeka), Burim Kukeli (Zurich), Ermir Lenjani (Nantes), Herolind Shala (Slovan Liberec), Taulant Xhaka (Basel), Armir Abrashi (Freiburg)

Forwards: Bekim Balaj (Rijeka), Sokol Cikalleshi (Medipol Baksasehir), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz), Milot Rashica (Vitesse), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids)
unnamed-23It was the perfection all round for England in qualifying, winning 10 from 10, plus recently securing wins against France and Germany in friendlies. Only conceding three goals throughout, surpsingly all against Slovenia over the two games, they look like a side who have a chance this summer.

However with very few caps between the squad, in fact in the last friendly against Turkey, Wayne Rooney had more appearances for England than 9 of the players on the pitch, can they cope with the pressure? It’s renowned that captain Wayne Rooney rarely performs in major tournaments, more so recently when there’s been a weight of expectation on his shoulders, the question is how will the others fare, especially in the later stages? On paper, the attacking threat of the side looks strong, plus we have a lot of options we can call upon, but how will the side fare at the back? A defense that has changed quite frequently of late, can’t seem to find a central pairing that works. Can the likes of Smalling, Stones or Cahill deal with the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Griezmann this summer?

Key Man: Harry Kane

In the last two years Kane has grown from strength to strength, scoring 64 in 110 appearances fro club and country, an outstanding record for a player many dubbed, “would never make it at the top level”. Kane is likley to be the front of the England attack this season, either with a partner, or with something off him. The one thing you will get with Kane, is that he follows a shoot on sight policy, yes maybe at times it can be a bit excessive, but it has seen him become the player he is today.

Though I wouldn’t say England have an easy group, I can certainly see the matches being blessed with goals, at which time I can see Kane notching and adding to his national tally.

Player to Watch: Dele Alli

Another Tottenham player to watch this summer, Dele Alli may have tarnished his impressive season with his suspension near the end of the BPL campaign, however thus far for England, his performances have been sensational. Playing against some of the top sides in the world and performing to the level of a player playing Champions League football the season before and not League 1.

He’s a player who plays with little fear and with a smile, he may well be our modern day Paul Gascoigne.

Tips:

Kane top England scorer (2/1)

To reach the Quarter Finals (8/13)

To win a penalty shoot-out (5/1)

Group goals scored over 4.5 (8/11)

(provisional 26-man squad)  

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
unnamed-24Currently the favourites and host nation for this summer’s Euros, many believe this crop of French players can relive the success of 2000. They may not be flying high in the world rankings, more so based on the lack of competitive football played in the last two years, but the French side has a depth of quality in their ranks, a balanced mix of experience and youth.

It will be an emotional build up for the whole country, with the Paris attacks still leaving scars and in the minds of players and fans alike, if you add in the pressure of hosting the tournament, a lot is riding on the shoulders for this French side to succeed. They certainly have the attacking flare to push any team, but can their defense step up, who’ve been leaking goals of late.

Key Man: Paul Pogba

Many say Pogba is currently the best midfielder in Europe and will be looking to build upon his award of best young player at the 2014 World Cup, with either player of the tournament or better still the trophy itself. Still a lot to learn for this box to box midfielder, he offers real balance to side, displaying a hard working defensive effort and a real eye for goal, especially when shooting from distance.

A lot of people will be looking at Pogba to provide the goods this summer and if he can replicate this recent club form, the French have a very good chance of going all the way on home soil this year.

Player to Watch: Dimitri Payet

Pretty much an unknown commodity around Europe until his move to Marseille in 2013 and subsequent move to West Ham last year, he is living proof that players do get better with age. Currently 29, Payet seems to be growing as a player in his peak years as a professional and has the flare and skill to upset any side in this year’s tournament.
We all know the man has an eye for goal at a set-piece, even at some angles that just don’t seem possible and it may be an idea to look out for a bet for him to score a free-kick this summer. In Payet they have a potential match winner and im sure he won’t disappoint.

Tips:

To win the Euros (3/1)

Group goals scored over 5.5 (6/5)

Group goals conceded under 3.5 (1/1)

Martial Golden boot winner, each way (25/1)

Martial top French scorer (4/1)

(23-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N’Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Dimitri Payet (West Ham).

Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

unnamed-33With the stingiest defence in qualification, Romania conceded only two goals in their 10 matches and it is clear where Romania’s strengths lie. Current coach Anghel Iordanescu will again attempt to make the most of a core of underrated, hard-working and hungry players in a disciplined 4-2-3-1 system as they look to frustrate their final group fixture against Albania and this may prove vital if they are to qualify. Though they boosted the sterness defense, they lack a proven goalscorer, with neither squad member scoring more than two goals during qualification.

Key Man: Alexandru Maxim

In Maxim, Romania have a player with that something special and though he may not start this summer, it will be his performances of the bench that could see him snatch some vital points, plus play a vital role in the final fixture against Albania, a game they’ll most likely need to win. Currently playing his trade in Germany, the Stuttgart attacking midfielder is one to watch for Romania this summer.

Player to Watch: Florin Andone

Probably one of the least experienced members of the squad, the Spanish based striker has scored 26 goals in two season for Cordoba and has drawn attention from European clubs, more recently the likes of Villa and Southampton last January. He is a hungry player looking to make not only a name for himself but make things happen for his country and this hunger, plus youthful exuberance may seem to help his side rekindle the Romania of old and reach the later stages of this year’s competition.

Tips:

No Romanian scorer (12/1)

Florin Andone the top Romanian scorer (14/1)

(provisional 28-man squad) 

Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu (Fiorentina), Costel Pantilimon (Watford), Silviu Lung (Astra Giurgiu).

Defenders: Cristian Sapunaru (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Alexandru Matel (Dinamo Zagreb), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli), Valerica Gaman (Astra Giurgiu), Cosmin Moti (Ludogorets), Dragos Grigore (Al-Sailiya), Razvan Rat (Rayo Vallecano), Steliano Filip (Dinamo Bucharest), Alin Tosca (Steaua Bucharest).

Midfielders: Mihai Pintilii (Steaua Bucharest), Ovidiu Hoban (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Adrian Ropotan (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Andrei Prepelita (Ludogorets), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucharest), Gabriel Torje (Osmanlispor), Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua Bucharest), Alexandru Maxim (Stuttgart), Nicolae Stanciu (Steaua Bucharest), Lucian Sanmartean (al-Ittihad).

Forwards: Claudiu Keseru (Ludogorets), Bogdan Stancu (Genclerbirligi), Florin Andone (Cordoba), Denis Alibec (Astra Giurgiu), Ioan Hora (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Andrei Ivan (CSU Craiova).
unnamed-34Russia enter this season Euro’s in a somewhat limbo situation. Still in recovery from the disastrous Capello reign, who was not a popular chap, it seems the new manager, Leonid Slutsky, is starting from scratch, which has seen him form a squad from entirely domestic-based players, well except from Roman Neustadter, who plays in Germany. Now it’s not often many squads are formed from their own domestic leagues, especially outside the top leagues in Europe, but though they will unlikely replicate their 2008 campaign, in which they finished third, they will certainly build on experience for their home World Cup in 2018. However if they do manage to provide a shock this summer, other than being no short of remarkable, it will be helped by each player knowing one another’s strengths, plus the ins and outs of ones respective footballing styles

Key Man: Artyom Dzyuba

A once promising and now unsettled talent, the 27-year-old Dzyuba has had a fine season with Zenit St Petersburg and top-scored for Russia with eight goals in qualifying. Prior to September 2014 he had not found the net for the national side, who now looks a fearsome front man, one the Russian contingent will be looking upon to provide the goods, hopefully replicated the likes of Pavlyuchenko back in 2008.

Player to Watch: Oleg Shatov

The Zenit winger who started out as a futsal player, who brought those skills into the full-sided game, has developed rapidly over the last few years and now, at 25, is one of the national team’s leading lights, who is building suitors around Europe. He is an exciting talent, one that reminds me of fellow countryman Andrei Arshavin, before his move to the Premier League and if he can replicate his outstanding form from Euro 2008, then Russia may actually stand a chance.

Tips:

Oleg Shatov Top Russian Scorer (11/1)

Artem Top Russian Scorer (10/3)

(23-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit St. Petersburg).

Defenders: Alexei Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Vasily Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Schalke), Georgy Shchennikov (CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg).

Midfielders: Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Oleg Ivanov (Terek Grozny), Pavel Mamaev (Krasnodar), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moscow), Dmitri Torbinski (Krasnodar).

Forwards: Artyom Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Zenit St Petersburg), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar).

unnamed-35Slovakia started their qualification in the most perfect fashion, beating both qualification rivals Ukraine and Spain in the first two games and continued to do the same until losing their seventh game to the group winners Spain, by which time qualification was all but assured. Slovakia could be one of the more intriguing long shots for a run to the later stages of Euro 2016. This may be their first European Championship, but many will remember their progression to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup and Jan Kozak’s team looks even better than its predecessor.

They have lost just twice in the last two years, over 17 games, and look a superbly-drilled unit that packs a genuine punch on the counter. The real question is, can they combat against the likes of England, Gareth Bale and the well-oiled machine, Russia? Their opening game against Wales could be vital to their success this campaign, but will struggle to use their main counter attacking asset against a Welsh side likely to defend, who pride themselves on their organisation.

Key Man: Marek Hamsik

The Napoli playmaker is the heartbeat of this Slovakian side and offers that real added quality that can change games. The nation’s top scorer during qualifying, the vice captain will be the spearhead of everything the Slovakians do this summer, one that especially England cannot afford to give time to. Slovakia enter a group with three of the best defenses during qualification and Hamsik’s ability to score a goal from nothing will certainly be called upon this year.

Player to Watch: Juraj Kucka

The AC Milan anchor is a tough-tackling, clever, quietly effective performer who will do plenty of the hard graft in central midfield to help Slovakia wrest control of games and allow those further ahead to shine. With the side’s emphasis on counter attacking, they will be looking at the AC man to quickly retrieve the ball and turn defense into a goal scoring attack.

Tips:

Adam Nemec Top Slovakian Scorer (5/1)

(provisional 27-man squad)  

Goalkeepers: Matus Kozacik (Viktoria Pilsen), Jan Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Jan Novota (Rapid Vienna)

Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Norbert Gyoember (Roma), Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Kornel Salanta (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Hubocan (Dynamo Moscow), Dusan Svento (Cologne), Lukas Tesak (Almaty)

Midfielders: Viktor Pecovsky (MSK Zilina), Matus Bero (AS Trencin), Robert Mak (PAOK), Erik Sabo (PAOK), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Patrik Hrosovsky (Viktoria Pilsen), Jan Gregus (Jablonec), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros), Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimir Weiss (Al Gharafa).

Forwards: Michal Duris (Viktoria Pilsen), Adam Nemec (Willem II), Adam Zrelak (Slovatia Bratislava).
unnamed-38Switzerland arrive at their fourth European Championship finals with a side that, on paper, looks capable of reaching the last eight. It’s a talented generation of players, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri likely to be around for a good few tournaments yet, and a wealth of impressive youngsters coming through who already boost a host of potential suitors. The main problem for Switzerland is they struggle to win the big matches, they may be hard to beat, but lack that extra something to finish a top side off, something the new manager Vladimir Petkovic will be looking to change.

Key Man: Granit Xhaka

The Arsenal bound midfielder looks to be a perfect fit for the Premier League. He is a dominant, energetic midfielder who will look to dictate the play for the Swiss during this tournament and should provide a perfect link between defence and attack plus cover for those more creative and attacking players. There’s a lot of promise around this player and the Swiss will be praying he produces the goods in a few weeks time.

Player to Watch: Xherdan Shaqiri

Many were surprised when the winger made the move to England for Stoke last year, but his performances throughout would suggest otherwise. It looks likely that the Stoke winger, may not quite reach the dizzying heights that were once promised but he is still an outstanding performer and gives Switzerland the tools to unlock any defence. He has an impressive scoring record for the Swiss and was the top scorer during qualifying, so may well provide a few matches winners this summer.

Tips:

To be eliminated in the round of 16 (6/4)

(provisional 28-man squad)  

Goalkeepers: Roman Burki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg), Yvon Mvogo (Young Boys), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach).

Defenders: Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basle), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Fabian Schar (Hoffenheim), Philippe Senderos (Grasshoppers), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Silvan Widmer (Udinese).

Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Dzemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Renato Steffen (Basle), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys), Luca Zuffi (Basle).

Forwards: Eren Derdiyok (Kasımpasa), Breel Embolo (Basle), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Haris Seferovic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Shani Tarashaj (Grasshoppers).

unnamed-41It has taken 58 years, but Wales are back at a major tournament and the optimism surrounding Chris Coleman’s side is high. The current team has been developing together for some time and everything came to fruition during a hugely impressive qualifying campaign, in which only three sides conceded less goals than them throughout. They took four points against the recent world number one nation Belgium and this achievement came from the perseverance work from everyone involved in the current Welsh set up.
With Gareth Bale spearheading the side, they have a genuine world class talent and with top-level experience throughout the rest of the squad, it should see them push their expectations further and look for a place in the knockout stages.

Key Man: Gareth Bale

To put it bluntly, Bale is the heart of this Welsh side, a two time Champions League winner, most recently receiving the MOTM award in this season UCL final against Atletico. Bale is basically Wales and without him, I doubt they will go far this summer. He scored 7 of the nations 11 qualifying goals and with Coleman turning Wales into a side similar to Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland a few years back, they are very hard to beat, that rarely leak goals or score goals, Bale will 100% be key.

Player to Watch: Bale’s Shadow

Like I said in the above statement, Wales are a one man, one hope team, so just watch Bale’s shadow.

Tips:

For any player to score a headed goal (6/4)

Bale top Wales scorer (10/11)

Eliminated in the Quarter Finals (5/1)

Group goals over 2.5 (4/7)

Goals conceded under 5.5 (4/6)

(provisional 30-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness).

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Chris Gunter (Reading), Ashley Williams (Swansea), James Chester (West Brom), Ashley Richards (Fulham), Paul Dummett (Newcastle), Adam Henley (Blackburn), Adam Matthews (Sunderland), James Collins (West Ham).

Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Cotterill (Birmingham), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace), George Williams (Fulham), Andy King (Leicester), Emyr Huws (Wigan), Dave Edwards (Wolves).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Tom Bradshaw (Walsall), Tom Lawrence (Leicester), Simon Church (Nottingham Forest), Wes Burns (Walsall).

The Groups

This section will look at groups A & B and offer a guide on what tips are available for each. It will also give you an idea of what potential upsets may occur and hopefully give you a better understanding on who should qualify into the last 16.unnamed-15On paper, probably one of the easiest to call groups in this year’s finals, which sees host France, compete with, Romania, Albania and Switzerland. At first glance, there’s only one real winner of this group and that’s the hosts France, who though low in the FIFA rankings, boast a fare superior squad, plus experience. Romania have only qualified for one of the last 7 major tournaments, with Albania competing in their first ever. As for the Swiss, they are an organised side, who on their day do have players who can threaten any side, but personally I believe it will be a three way fight, for potentially the two last qualifying spots. However, with the French, not being involved in any real competitive football, during the qualifying period, it may not be as comfortable as first presumed.

Tips for this group:

Group Winner (4/11): France

Though we may have thrown in a slight game changers at the end there, we still 100% believe France will walk this group and clearly, so do the bookies. Though they may be a team of far less superstars than in previous years, they still boost a squad of players competing at the highest level and winning major honours.

Straight Forecast (7/4): France winners, Switzerland Runners Up

As already stated, we believe France have won this group hands down, but if you’re looking for added value, then try this bet. When both sides meet in the final group games, they are likely to have both qualified and may be considering resting players, which in this case, there is only one winner. However, with both potentially fighting for top spot, we could see a cagey low scoring match, with goal difference maybe be decisive in the overall standing, at which time France will claim top spot.

Third place finish (9/4): Albania

The reasoning behind this is simply, they will want it more than Romania. There’s likely to be a massive following of English in this year’s finals and I can imagine the Albanians matching this. When it comes to the final group game, against Romania, I can see both sides fighting it out, potentially for a third qualifying spot. Neither side have an obvious goal threat in their ranks, but with the fans behind them and the general passion each player will show, I do believe they will steal third spot.

Exact Finish (11 /2): France, Switzerland, Albania, Romania

unnamed-16The group we all want to talk about and one that is actually quite a tough one to call. England should qualify, especially with third spot also offering the chance. The real question is, just how dominant can this inexperienced England side be during this group? For Wales, they haven’t just shown up to take part, they will want to win and with the world class Gareth Bale spearheading a well organised team, they have a great chance to provide some upsets and certainly progress past the groups. Like Wales, Slovakia won’t be here just to take part, they will want to build upon a strong qualification campaign and take advantage of a potential three progressing from Group B. Again similar to Wales, they have some stand out stars, who spearhead a hard working team and may provide a shock or two this June. Lastly we have Russia, with many close to home, not tipping them for a great tournament and doubt they replicate the third place achievement from 2008. They’re in a time of transition since the Capello era ended last year and will look at this tournament as a learning curve for when they host the World Cup in 2018.

Tips for this group:

Group Winner (5/6): England

England have looked strong in qualifying and even stronger in the build up to this summers Euros. A nation that has massively underachieved since 96, enter near on every tournament with such hope, which ends in anger. However, this year seems slightly different, there is hope, but a different type of hope altogether. Watching England became more of a chore but the current crop has bought that level of excitement back to the nation, one that has the chance to do something special. A side who have a good mix of youth and experience, with a squad full of players who have over performed domestically this season. Other than Wales (Bale), I don’t see much competition in this group and if England can break down the Welsh stubbornness early on, top spot should be a simple task.

To Qualify from the Group (4/6): Wales

Wales performed above and beyond expectations in qualification, taking four points from the recent world number one nation, Belgium. They enter a tricky group, with England the obvious favorites, but Russia and Slovakia have also performed well in qualification, with Slovakia’s achievement similar to the Welsh. Why we believe they will qualify, is simply one man and that man is Gareth Bale. Out of the whole group he is hands down the best player and that game changing player backed up by a team who are organsied and work their socks off, which should see them progress this year.

Straight Forecast (9/2): England group winner, Wales runner up

As already stated, we believe England will comfortably win Group B and also believe the Welsh cannot only qualify but can do so in second place. Russia have a squad full of domestic talent and don’t boast a real game changing player. Wales have faced sterner tests in the last few years and managed to overcome them, so if they can replicate these performances, we can see a good tournament from the Welsh.

Third Spot (2/1): Slovakia

Like Wales, Slovakia have performed very well in recent years and a recent win over Germany, shows exactly what the nation can do. Their first game against Wales will on paper look the most crucial tie, but personally we think the second game against Russia will be more important. Dropped points in the first and the second becomes a must win game for either side and we believe underdog nation will come up on top.
Exact Finish (12/1): England, Wales, Slovakia, Russia

Mr Blues Tips

-Spain to win the Euro’s (11/2)

-France Group A Winner (4/11)

-England Group B Winner (5/6)

-Janko to be Austria Top Scorer (2/1)

-Belgium to reach the Quarter Finals (10/11)

-Ivan Perisic top Croatian Scorer (7/1)

-England group goals scored over 4.5 (8/11)

-No Hungary goalscorer (6/1)

-Lafferty top Northern Ireland scorer (9/2)

-Bale top Wales scorer (10/11)

-Artiz Aduriz golden boot each way (25/1)

-Milik top Poland scorer (5/1)

-Milik Golden boot winner each way (100/1)

Mr Blues Hot Tips

-Spain to win the Euro’s (11 /2)

-Bale top Wales scorer (10/11)

-Ivan Perisic top Croatian Scorer (7/1)

-Milik Golden boot winner each way (100/1)

-No Hungary goalscorer (6/1)

-England Group B Winner (5/6)

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