Euro2012 betting preview (Groups C & D)

Plenty of bigs names in these two Groups, with the 5/2 favourites Spain fancied to get off to a flyer and bag plenty of goals in their opening games.

*All prices BetVictor*

Group C

Spain: 5/2 favourites, 4/9 and 1/7
Winners back in 1964, World Champions, current holders and likely to take all the beating as they bid to make it a hat-trick of Major Tournament wins. BetVictor will refund losing stakes on outright market if La Roja land the treble and that is magnificent insurance as at 5/2 they remain the side to beat.

Spain were beaten in a one-sided friendly at Wembley back in November and will have to remain patient as other countries get 10-men behind the ball and attempt to frustrate, but their armada of world class players have the ability and strength-in-depth to make it three in a row in Kiev on 1st July.

Daily Sport recommended bet: Goals scored in Group stages between 4 and 6 at 13/10;

Italy:  14/1, 3/1 and 1/2
Sole win in the Euros came back in 1968 but the four-time World Champions are always respected despite not making it out of their group in the World Cup in South Africa two years ago.

Recent home defeats to Uruguay and the United States suggest the Azzurri are still a work in progress despite winning their group by 10 points; their fans will point to a 2-1 win against Spain in Bari last August as reason for optimism ahead of their opener against the holders on June 10th.  Mario Balotelli of EPL Champions Manchester City has been named in a provisional 32-man squad by coach Cesare Prandelli.

Daily Sport recommended bet: To finish runner up in Group 8/5

Republic of Ireland: 100/1, 18/1 and 4/1
Only the second time the Irish have reached the Finals and, at first glance, hard to see Giovanni Trappattoni’s side making it out of the Group stages but they have been written off before, will be well organised and difficult to beat.

The nomadic Robbie Keane remains the fulcrum of a team made up of solid if largely unspectacular Premier League players; Sunderland’s James McLean has been one of the finds of the season and he has made the squad at the expense of Wigan’s James McCarthy who has decided to stay at home on account of a family illness.

Daily Sport recommended bet: To finish third in Group at 3/1

Croatia: 50/1, 9/1 and 9/5
Former Everton and West Ham defender Slaven Bilic will step down as national team boss after the tournament fuelling speculation that we will soon see the 43-year-old back in the Premier League.

Reached the quarter-finals four years ago when beaten by Turkey in a penalty shoot out and Spurs‘ playmaker Luka Modric is likely to be key if they are to progress to the knock out stages. Everton’s Nikica Jelavic, who has been outstanding for the Blues since leaving Rangers in January, is a surprise inclusion in the 27-man squad but the striker is not guaranteed to make the final cull to be made by Bilic later in the month.

Daily Sport recommended bet: Total points in Group: 1 at 9/2


Group D

Ukraine: 40/1, 4/1 and 11/8
Coach Oleg Blokhin has named three goal-keepers in his squad with only one cap between them following the news that veteran Olexandr Shovkovskiy must undergo shoulder surgery and joins Andriy Dykan on the sidelines ahead of their first European Championships.

The co-hosts have ten players from Dynamo Kiev in their 26-man squad including legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko and are unbeaten in their last five friendlies since going down 4-0 to fellow finalists the Czech Republic in Prague back in November.

Daily Sport recommended bet: To be eliminated at Group Stage: 4/9

Sweden: 50/1, 6/1 and 2/1
The Swedes qualified as the best runners up from the Group stages with 24 points from a possible 30 including a 3-2 home success over Holland back in October. This will be the nation’s fourth consecutive Championships and their best show in the Euros came back in 1992 when they reached the last four.

The mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic orchestrated a 3-1 win in Zagreb against fellow qualifiers Croatia recently and if Sweden are to go deep in Euro 2012 the Milan striker must have a big tournament.

Daily Sport recommended bet: To finish second in the Group 9/2

France: 10/1, 13/8 and 8/15
Dual winners in 1984 and 2000 Les Bleus have been transformed by new coach Laurent Blanc from the ill-disciplined rabble that went to South Africa in 2010 to a side unbeaten in their last 18 internationals and potential Euro 2012 winners.

The squad contains eight players from the EPL including Newcastle United duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatam Ben Arfa who have played key roles in the renaissance of the Magpies; this French side may lack the brilliance of the Michel Platini winners of 1984 or the Zinedine Zidane inspired 2000 Champions but they are clearly a more unified side under their new coach and are genuine contenders.

Daily Sport recommended bet: Top Goalscorer Olivier Giroud at 6/1

England: 14/1, 13/8 and 1/2
The Three Lions have gone into major tournaments with hopes high in recent years only to disappoint, sometimes badly; there is no doubt there is not the same level of expectation ahead of Euro 2012, after their 4-1 mauling by Germany in Bloemfontein, but could this work in their favour?

Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two group games and new coach Roy Hodgson has ditched Rio Ferdinand  in favour of  John Terry.  However in Danny Welbeck they have a striker who is capable of making a real impact at this level.

Daily Sport recommended bet: Number of points in Group Stages: 4 at 7/2

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