Sunday’s draw for Euro 2016 qualifying didn’t throw up too many mouth-watering ties. With two automatic spots available in each group it would be a real shock if any of the big footballing nations fell at the qualifying stage.
With 24 nations competing in France 2016 – the biggest European Championship in the history, I see it as more weaker teams in the tournament than more potential winners.
Five teams who finished third in the group stage will qualify for the finals. Hypothetically, if the groups all finish with the teams from pot 1 on top, pot 2 second, pot 3 third and so on, here are the teams from pot 3 of which five teams will qualify for the tournament:
Austria, Israel, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey
See any potential winners there? Me neither. I think this actually makes it harder for “a Greece” to win the tournament now, favouring the chances of one of the big nations to win the tournament.
As for the favourites, Germany’s youngster have been made the early favourites, at 4.30 with BetBright’s football odds. That’s narrowly shorter than second favourites Spain who are 4.50.
Spain’s youth teams have been winning just about every tournament of late so don’t overlook them for winning the tournament for a third consecutive occasion.
Right now, backing both Germany and Spain seems to be the sensible bet as it makes a great arb. Of course, that means we’re ruling out every other nation.
Hosts France are third favourites at 6.60. The last tournament they hosted they won back in 1998. They also won this tournament when they hosted in back in 1984 although not in 1960 (yes, France are hosting the European Championships for the third time in its 15th competition, whilst the likes of England, Germany and Spain have hosted it once.).
Italy are 10.00, Netherlands 11.00 and Belgium’s golden generation are 12.00. Perhaps it’s worth a few quid on Belgium now – and then if they both impress at the World Cup and qualify for Euro 2016 (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Wales, Cyprus and Andorra in their group) there should be both the opportunity for a decent trade, and the opportunity to keep the bet in place whilst they progress through the tournament in France.
Euro 2012 was quite predictable as was the 2010 World Cup. With the Spaniards and Germans looking well-above the rest of Europe right now – can any other nation significantly improve over the next two years to increase Germany and Spain’s odds and put the two favourites under pressure at Euro 2016?