Portugal vs. Spain Preview

Wednesday night’s game in Donetsk sees and Iberian derby, as holders Spain meet Portugal in the first Euro 2012 semi-final. Victory for the Spanish would ensure a third straight tournament final, whilst a win for Portugal would give them their second final appearance in the last three European Championships, having lost out on winning the trophy to Greece in 2004.

Vincente Del Bosque’s men defeated France in their semi-final on Saturday evening, with midfielder Xabi Alonso getting both goals in a 2-0 victory. The Real Madrid man has now joined fellow countrymen Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres on to tournament goals, with the latter most likely of the three to win the Golden Boot at 8.0 (7/1) with William Hill.

Spain are odds on favourites to win the match, with Bet Victor offering odds of 1.95 (20/21), whilst Portugal can be backed at 4.5 (7/2) with most bookmakers. The draw is around 3.4 (12/5).

Portugal beat Czech Republic in the first semi-final on Thursday, with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing the only goal in the second half. Ronaldo, who has been the stand out player in his side’s last two games, is now favourite to be crowned player of the tournament , with Stan James offering odds of 5.0 (4/1).

Of the players still in the tournament, he and Mario Gomez of Germany are currently the tournaments leading goal scorers with three each, and you can get odds of 3.0 (2/1)for Portugal’s captain to finish on top of the chart.

Portugal ran out 4-0 winners the last time these sides met, in a friendly in 2010; the result being Spain’s biggest defeat in sixty years. Competitively, Spain knocked Portugal in the last sixteen of the World Cup in 2010, whist it was Spain who went home early when they clashed in the group stages at Euro 2004.

Those looking for value might be interested in the 17.0 (16/1) available for Portugal to win the match in extra time, whilst Spain are 10.0 (9/1) to do the same. You can back either named side at odds of 12.0 (11/1) to win the game on penalties.

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England vs. Italy Preview

The final Euro 2012 quarter final takes place in Kiev on Sunday evening, as Group D winners England meet Italy, who finished as runners-up in Group C.

Only Germany managed more points in the first stage of the competition than England, who followed their 1-1 draw in their opener with France, with wins against Ukraine and co-hosts Ukraine. Roy Hodgson’s men, who have a full-fit squad of 23, are now 10.0 (9/1) to win the tournament for the first time.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who scored on his return in England’s victory last time out, is the favourite to open the scoring on Sunday, with Bet Victor offering the best price of 7.0 (6/1). However, there isn’t much between themselves and Italy in the quarter final match odds, with most bookmakers offering the same price of round 29.0 (19/10) for either side to progress. The draw is 3.10 (21/10).

Italy finished second to holders Spain in Group C, having drawn their first two games before beating the Republic of Ireland on Monday evening. You can now get odds of 11.0 (10/1) with Bet Victor for the Azzurri to lift the trophy in Kiev on July 1st.

This will be the first meeting between these two sides since Italy’s 2-1 victory at Elland Road back in 2002, whilst their last competitive meeting was the famous goalless draw in Rome back in 1997, which saw England qualify for the following years World Cup in France.

With nothing between the sides in the match odds, backing the draw looks favourable. A repeat of the 0-0 score line from fifteen years ago is 7.0 (6/1), whilst 1-1 is the most probable result according to the bookmakers. Either named side are best priced with Bet 365 at 13.0 (12/1) to win in extra time, whilst most firms offer 11.0 (10/1) for either to win on penalties.

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Spain vs. France Preview

Saturday evening’s Euro 2012 quarter final in Donetsk sees holders Spain face two time winners France. The winners will face Portugal, who got past Czech Republic in the first quarter final on Thursday.

Spain go into the game having topped Group C by beating both the Republic of Ireland and Croatia after their 1-1 draw with Italy in their opening game. The World and European champions have won fifteen of their last nineteen internationals, though they have drifted below Germany to second favourites to lift what would be a record third major trophy in a row. You can get a best price of 375 (11/4) for the Spanish to win the tournament, whilst France are outsiders, with Bet Victor offering 14.0 (13/1).

As for this match, 1.85 (17/20) is the highest odds available for the Spain win, whilst France are as high as 5.25 (17/4). The draw is around the 3.5 (5/2) mark.

France’s defeat to Sweden in their last match was their first in twenty-five games meant they had to settle for the runners-up spot in Group D. They drew with England in their opening game before beat co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk four days later.

The French have lost their last two meetings with Spain, though they were victorious in their last competitive meeting, back in the last sixteen of the 2006 World Cup. The two sides also met in the quarter finals Euro 2000; France winning 2-1 on their way to lifting the trophy in Belgium and the Netherlands.

With a tight game expected, you might be tempted to take advantage of the various markets available for the game to not be decided in 90 minutes. Spain are clear favourites to win should the match be settled in extra time, whilst Bet Victor offer a price of 13.0 (12/1) for either named side to win in the shoot-out.

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Germany vs. Greece Preview

The second European Championship quarter-final takes place in Gdansk on Friday evening, as 2004 winners Greece face a Germany side who are now favourites to lift the trophy on July 1st. The Germans topped Group B, and are the only side in the competition to qualify for the last eight with a 100% record.

Striker Mario Gomez is now the firm favourites to finish the tournament as top scorer, with 2.63 (13/8) the best price available, while Lukas Podolski, who scored whilst becoming the youngest ever European to win 100 international caps in Sunday’s win over Denmark, is a 51.0 (50/1) shot to win the Golden Boot. The 27 year old, who recently signed for Arsenal, is 7.0 (6/1) to get the first goal on Friday. Should he do so, he would tie with the legendary Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as the joint fifth highest all time goal scorer for Germany.

The three times European Champions go into this game as odds on favourites at 1.36 (4/11) whilst Greece are as high at 11.0 (10/1) to record what would be one of the all-time shock international results. The draw is 5.0 (4/1). 7

Greece’s 1-0 victory against Group A favourites Russia was enough to see them edge through to the quarter finals as runners-up to Czech Republic. The Greeks have lost just twice in their last twenty-four matches, yet they are undoubtedly the surprise package of the tournament so far. They last faced Germany in the qualifying stages of the 2002 World Cup; the Germans winning both home and away.

With the odds stacked in such favour for Germany, it is difficult to see past a victory for Joachim Low’s men, but with Greece so difficult to break, it might not be the whitewash some would expect. With this in mind, you might be tempted to take advantage of the 7.5 (13/2) offered by Ladbrokes for Germany 1-0 Greece.

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Czech vs. Portugal Preview

The quarter finals for this summer’s European Championships get underway on in Warsaw on Thursday evening as Group A winners Czech Republic meet Portugal, who finished second in Group B.

After their 4-1 thumping by Group favourites Russia, few would have fancied Michal Bilek’s team to progress to the tournaments last eight, but narrow victories against Greece and Poland saw the Czech’s finish in pole position. They do go into this game as outsiders, with most bookmakers offering 5.5 (9/2). Portugal are 1.80 (4/5) with Paddy Power whilst the draw is best priced at 3.60 (13.5).

The Portuguese also lost their tournament opener to eventual Group B winners Germany. They also squandered a two goal lead in their second game against Denmark before securing all three points thanks to a late winner from Silvestre Virela. However, it was their own resolve in their final game that saw them come from one goal down to beat 2010 World Cup finalists the Netherlands on Sunday.

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored both goals in their last game, and the Real Madrid man is now second favourite to finish the tournament as top scorer, at a best price of 5.0 (4/1). Ronaldo also scored when these two sides met in the group stage of Euro 2008; Portugal running out 3-1 winners on the way to finishing in first place, before eventually being eliminated in the quarter finals.

However, it was Czech Republic who won their clash in the quarter finals of Euro 96. They went on to reach the final, losing to Germany on the now defunct Golden Goal rule. With an open game expected, there could well be goals here, so you might want to take advantage of the 8.5 (15/2) offered by some bookmakers that there will be five or more scored in the game.

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England vs. Ukraine Preview

Tuesday evening’s match in Donetsk sees Group D come to a close as England face tournament co-hosts Ukraine. Both sides know that victory will see them qualify for the quarter finals of the competition, though a draw would be good enough for England.

Roy Hodgson’s men go in to the game following their impressive come-from-behind victory against Sweden on Friday. England will be bolstered by the return of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who is available for selection following a two match suspension. The 26 year old is 6.5 (11/2) with Stan James to open the scoring here, whilst Bet 365 offer 11.0 (10/1) for Rooney to score at least twice. Two goals would see Rooney draw level with Nat Lofthouse, Tom Finney and Alan Shearer as England’s joint fifth highest goal scorer of all time.

England go into the game as favourites at a best price of 2.25 (5/4), whilst you can get 3.50 (5/2) for the Ukraine victory. The draw is 3.40 (12/5) with Bwin.

Ukraine followed their impressive opening game victory with defeat to France in Donetsk on Friday. Andriy Shevchenko, who has scored more than half of Ukraine’s all time tournament goals tally, is once again set to lead the line and is a generous 10.0 (9/1) with Paddy Power to open the scoring.

Midfielder Sergey Nazarenko got the only goal of the game the last time these two sides met, as Ukraine beat England in a World Cup Qualifier in Dnipropetrovsk in 2009. That was Ukraine’s only victory in four games against the English, having lost the other three.

John Terry scored the winner in the reverse fixture of the World Cup 2010 qualification campaign, and interestingly only three members of the current squad have more international goals than the Chelsea captain, who is 11.0 (10/1) to score at any time on Tuesday.

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