Unsurprisingly, tournament favourites Spain are odds of to win Group C, having won twelve of their last fifteen games. The European and World Champions are one of only two sides to have had a 100% record in qualification (the other being Germany), and look a good bet to become the first team to win three ever to win the international tournaments in a row.
They are best priced 1.62 (8/13) with Bet Fred to win the group far ahead of Italy, who are 4.5 (7/2) with Paddy Power. The two previous World Cup winners meet in the opening game of Group C on Sunday evening, and the Italians will take comfort in knowing that they are one of only two teams to have beaten Spain in the last eighteen months.
Italy, who last won the tournament back in 1968, will know that defeat in that first game could well leave the with an uphill battle, especially if either side in Sunday’s other game pick up three points.
Croatia reached this summer’s tournament following their 3-0 aggregate win over Turkey in the play-offs, having finished second to Greece in their qualification group. With an array of attacking options, Croatia could well spring a surprise in this group, despite being way behind Spain and Italy in the market. You can get odds of 9.0 (8/1) for Slaven Bilic to guide his side to the top of this tough group, whilst the Republic of Ireland are huge outsiders at 19.0 (18/1).
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men also qualified for the tournament through the play-offs, beating Estonia 5-1 over two legs. Despite the way the odds are stacked; this group perhaps has the best opportunity to spring a surprise. With Spain having a real chance of gaining maximum points, the race for second place could be very tight, with the advantage going to whoever wins that match between Croatia and Ireland in Poznan.
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