With the major league campaigns across the continent now coming to a close, attentions are turning to the forthcoming European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
The holders Spain go in to the tournament as favourites, and are looking to win an unprecedented third major tournament in a row. They have an embarrassment of riches going forward, even in the absence of Barcelona striker David Villa, who has not played since December after breaking his leg in a World Club Cup game.
Fernando Torres seems to be returning to some form with his club Chelsea following a slow start, and he could well have a Champions League medal to boot, along with team mate and fellow country man Juan Mata. Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente has hit 29 goals in all competitions, whilst Roberto Soldado of Valenica, and Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo have also had strong seasons.
At a best price of 3.75 with Bwin, Vicente Del Bosque’s men are certainly the team to beat. However, at 4.5 with Paddy Power, second favourites Germany are certainly worth considering.
With Mario Gomez (also in contention for a Champions League winners medal), arguably Europe’s hottest out and out striker leading the line, as well as their second highest capped player, and second to second highest all-time scorer Miroslav Klose likely to make his final appearance on the big stage, they are certainly capable of going all the way.
Next in the pecking order come World Cup 2010 finalists the Netherlands, spearheaded by Robin Van Persie, at 8.0 with most bookmakers whilst England the guidance of recently appointed Roy Hodgson are best priced 13.0 with Bwin.
Elsewhere, France will feel confident of qualifying from group C, whilst Italy may have to settle for second place in ‘the group of death’. They are 13.0, and 15.0 respectively.
Portugal are always fancied, but generally underachieve at tournaments, and are 21.0 with most bookmakers, whilst 1992 winners Denmark, and Republic of Ireland are rank outsiders, each priced at 101.0.
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Full List of Euro 2012 Odds
Czech Republic 67/1
Republic of Ireland 80/1