Denmark vs. Portugal

Tuesday’s early kick off sees a meeting of two sides who met each other in qualifying for this summer’s European Championship, as Denmark meet Portugal in Lviv.

The Danes were victorious in their meeting in Copenhagen eight months ago, whilst it was the Portuguese who came out on top in Porto twelve months previously. Cristiano Ronaldo scored in both of those games, and the Real Madrid man will be keen to add to that tally, after failing to prevent his side falling to a 1-0 defeat in their opening game against Group B favourites Germany on Saturday.

Bet Fred are offering odds of 3.60 (13/5) for Portugal to win with their captain scoring at any time, while Sporting Bet have odds of 6.50 (11/2) that Ronaldo will score first en route to a Portuguese victory.

Paulo Bento’s men are favourites to get three points, with the majority of bookmakers offering even money, with the draw at 3.50 (5/2), whilst you can get odds of 4.0 (3/1) for a Denmark victory.

The 1992 European Champions currently lead Group B following their shock victory over the Netherlands in Saturday’s five o’clock kick off. Michael Krohn-Dehli got the only goal of that game, and the Brondby winger is 10.0 (9/1) with Bet Fred to open the scoring once more.

Victory for Morten Olsen’s men would eliminate their opponents from the competition, and all but guarantee qualification for the quarter finals. Should they get three points, anything but three points for the Netherlands against Germany would see Denmark through.

Considering their run of seven wins in their last nine games, the 12.0 (11/1) offered by Bet Victor for another 1-0 victory for the Danes looks extremely tempting. Alternatively, you can get odds of 23.0 (22/1) for Denmark to win with Krohn-Dehli scoring first from Sporting Bet.

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Who is going to win Euro 2012?

So the time of reckoning has arrived. The squads have been finalised, the warm up games have been played out and the teams are ready and waiting in the respective bases ahead of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Holders and World Champions Spain go in to the tournament as favourites at 3.75 (11/4) with most bookmakers. They kick off against Italy – arguably their toughest opponents – on Sunday evening, knowing that three points will be a big step towards finishing top of Group C.

Winning Group C could well be the best way to avoid France in the quarter finals, with Les Bleus looking likely to dominate group D. Their 4-0 thumping of Estonia in their final warm-up game stretched their unbeaten run to an incredible 21 games, meaning their extremely generous price of 11.0 (10/1) is rather unfathomable.

Group B has a whole host of potential winners. Three times champions Germany are second favourites at 4.0 (3/1); though with such tough opponents they could well struggle to make the quarter finals.

Their opening game with Portugal is far from a forgone conclusion, and Paulo Bento’s men will be hoping his team give themselves a chance of making the quarter finals with three points. If they do, they could be dark horses at 21.0 (20/1) to go all the way.

However, it is third favourites the Netherlands who perhaps provide the best value. At 7.0 (6/1), the 2010 World Cup finalists have lost just three times since that extra time defeat to Spain in Johannesburg . With a massive array of attacking talent, they really could be the team to beat this time around.

Elsewhere, Roy Hodgson’s England – who won their two warm up games 1-0 – are 16.0 (15/1) with Bet Fred and 1980 winners Italy are at 17.0 (16/1) while the hosts Poland and Ukraine are both best priced at 51.0 (50/1).

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Poland vs. Greece

The 2012 European Championships begin in Warsaw this Friday as co-hosts Greece entertain 2004 winners Greece.

Poland go into this game on a fantastic run of form, with five wins and a draw in their last six games. Even more impressively, they have haven’t conceded in over 450 minutes of international football. They also managed a clean sheet in their last meeting with Greece, in a friendly 15 months ago.

However, their 4-0 demolition of Andorra in their final warm up game was the first time they have scored more than one goal in a game since their 2-1 victory over Hungary back in November.

Their main goal threat is striker Robert Lewandowski, who managed thirty goals for German double winners Borussia Dortmund last season, with team mates and fellow countrymen Jakub Błaszczykowski and defender Łukasz Piszczek also playing a big part.

Lewandowski is favourite to get the first goal here, at 6.0 (5/1) with Bet Victor, whilst you can get odds of 21.0 (20/1) for him to finish the tournament as top scorer. Poland are favourites to pick up three points here, with Bet Victor offering a price of 2.05 (21/10). Greece are 3.3 (23/10), with the draw at 4.5 (7/2).

Greece are a slightly different proposition that the side who surprised everybody back in 2004, though they were unbeaten in qualifying. They too have been rather shy in front of goal in recent games, managing just one in each of their last five outings. With these stats in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that the second favourite in the first goal scorer market is no scorer at 7.0 (6/1).

However, with the inevitable lift given by their home support, you might be tempted to back a convincing victory for the co-hosts. Bwin offer 11/5 for Poland to win with 3 or more goals in the game, a result that would give them a great opportunity to progress to the quarter finals.

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Russia vs. Czech Republic

Friday’s late kick off sees 2008 semi-finalists Russia meet 1996 runners-up Czech Republic in Wroclaw.

The Russians go in to the game as clear favourites to win Group A at a price of 2.38 (11/8), so it should come as no surprise that they are the likely winners here. They are unbeaten in fourteen games, and have kept nine clean sheets in the process, culminating in a shock 3-0 victory over Italy in their final warm up game.

Zenit St. Petersburg‘s Alexander Kerzhakov got the first goal in that game, and the striker is 7.0 (6/1) to do so again here. Bwin have him priced at 41.0 (40/1) to finish the tournament as top scorer.

No fewer than seven of the Russia squad played a part in Zenit’s Championship winning season, with most in contention to start this match; not least the midfield trio of Konstantin Zyryanov, Igor Denisov and Roman Shirokov. The latter grabbed the other two goals in that win over Italy.

Dick Advocat’s men are 2.2 (6/5) to win this opening game, with Czech Republic best priced at 4.0 (3/1). The draw is around 3.25 (9/4).

Czech Republic’s 2-1 defeat to Hungary in their final warm up game was their first defeat in six internationals. However, much like their three Group A rivals, they aren’t big scorers, managing just a single goal in each of their last four matches.

They are extremely unlikely to go anywhere near as far as they did back in 1996, where they only lost the final to a golden goal in extra time against Germany. They are 2.25 (5/4) to qualify for the quarter finals, behind Russia and co-hosts Poland.

The last time these two countries met was at Euro 96, where they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw, though a repeat performance here looks unlikely, with a 3-0 victory for Russia looking much more tempting at 34.0 (33/1) with Bet Victor.

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Euro 2012 – Group D

The final group to get underway at this summer’s European Championships sees two times winners France, along with England, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine, the latter making their first appearance in the tournament.

Les Blues, who last won the tournament in 2000, are favourites to finish first, with a best price of 2.75 (7/4) offered by Bodog. The French are currently unbeaten in twenty internationals, their last defeat coming way back in September 2010 at the hands of Belarus in their opening qualifying game for this tournament. They bounced back to finish top of their group, and could well be dark horses in Poland and Ukraine, with arguably their toughest test coming in their opening game versus England.

Perennial underachievers in the European Championships, England’s best performance came sixteen years ago, as they reached the semi-finals of Euro 96 in their home country. They went through the qualification unbeaten, after failing to qualify for the previous championships in Austria and Switzerland.

Now under new manager Roy Hodgson, the English will be without talisman Wayne Rooney for the opening two games through suspension. However, if they can make it past France in that opening fixture, they have a real chance of topping the group. You can back them to do so at odds of 2.88 (15/8) with Paddy Power, a far shorter price than co-hosts Ukraine, who are at 5.5 (9/2) with several bookmakers.

Oleh Blokhin’s men go in to the game on a good run of form, having enjoyed an unbeaten run of six and counting going into their opening game on June 11th. All-time top scorer, and former European player of the year Andriy Shevchenko has returned from injury in time to make what his sure to be his final tournament appearance for his country, which will surely be a boost for the second lowest ranked country in the tournament. Incidentally, the lowest ranked team represented are co-hosts Poland.

Sweden, who like England reached the semi-finals when the hosted the tournament back in 1992, are outsiders to win Group D, with the best price of 7.5 (13/2) offered by Bet Victor.

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Euro 2012 – Group C

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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