Group D: Spain should prevail but don’t discount Croatia
Bitcoin sports betting website Sportsbet.io has now launched and to get into the spirit of things we’ll be looking at all things Euros.
We’ll have previews for each and every group, as well as the Golden Boot, outright tournament victors and reaction pieces this summer.
Sportsbet.io tipsters will also be making their selections ahead of the big kick off, but before then we take a closer look at Group D.
Back-to-back winners in 2008 and 2012, Spain are hoping to make it a hat-trick of European Championship victories in France this summer.
However it is a very different side to the one that lifted the trophy in Kiev four years ago. The core of Carles Puyol, Xavi, Xavi Alonso and Fernando Torres, who saw them to three successive major tournaments has been moved aside, and a new, younger side has emerged.
Spain were humiliated in the 2014 World Cup where they were knocked out after just two matches, but recovered well in the qualifiers, winning their last eight without conceding.
Unsurprisingly they’re favourites to top the group with Sportsbet.io at 1.62, and they are 5.40 third favourites to lift the trophy.
Winners of the tournament in 1976 (thanks to Antonin Panenka’s chipped penalty), Czech Republic come into this summer in form after topping a qualifying group containing Holland and Turkey.
Petr Cech is a class act in goal — though he doesn’t receive much support from his defence. The Czechs failed to keep a clean sheet through qualifying.
They are able to find the net regularly enough too, and will fancy their chances of getting through a close group.
Sportsbet.io make them 6.80 to win Group D and 46.00 to win the tournament.
The Turks pipped Holland to qualify from their group with a last minute free-kick as they make their first major tournament since Euro 2008.
They reached the semi-finals in Austria and Switzerland, and with then-coach Fatih Terim back in charge they will have high hopes in France.
Led by Barcelona’s Arda Turan, Turkey are an incredibly inconsistent side (losing 3–0 to Iceland, as well as beating Holland 3–0 in qualifying) and it’s difficult to predict what kind of side will turn up.
They are 7.60 with Sportsbet.io to top the group, and can be backed at 46.00 for the tournament itself.
Croatia have never progressed further than the quarter-finals since their introduction to the tournament in 1996, but they have the star quality to do better than that in France.
The likes of Champions League winners Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Rakitic will need little introduction to opponents, nor will Mario Mandzukic or Ivan Perisic — and they could be dark horses this summer.
Their midfield and attack is solid — though without Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren at the back question marks remain over their defence.
Sportsbet.io have them at 3.60 to top this group, and 20.00 to lift the Euro 2016 trophy.