The international break can be a frustrating time for European football fans and punters as they have to wait for their domestic club teams to return to action.
But what has been interesting about the double-header of friendlies that many nations played is the impact they had upon the Euro ’16 betting markets.
So let’s take a look at how four of the big boys got on, and any betting tips that arise from those performances.
France have been installed as the 4.50 favourite by many bookmakers, and it’s hard to disagree with that. They are the hosts, and having home support is always an advantage (they won Euro ’84 and World Cup ’98 on home soil), but more importantly than that they have a squad of players who are at the top of the game.
Further evidence, if any was required, of France’s credentials came in their back-to-back friendlies in the past few days. They played almost two completely different line-ups – only Raphael Varane, Patrice Evra, Alou Diarra and Antoine Griezmann started both matches – and yet still came away with 3-2 and 4-2 wins over the Netherlands and Russia respectively.
There was an international debut for N’Golo Kante and a return for Dimitri Payet, two of the hottest talents in the Premier League, while up front Didier Deschamps had the luxury of rotating Griezmann, Anthony Martial, Olivier Giroud and Andre-Pierre Gignac….and we’ve not even mentioned Karim Benzema yet.
It’s no surprise to see their price fall to 4.50 then, and given that there is each way value in taking that we have to install France to win Euro ’16 as one of the Bet Advisor betting tips of the day.
It has an odd few days for Germany. They were beaten by their old rivals England on Saturday night after taking a 2-0 lead, and that saw their price drop with many of the leading bookmakers.
But on Tuesday evening they redeemed themselves by tearing apart the usually reliable defence of Italy. Goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Jonas Hector and Mesut Ozil contributed to a resounding 4-1 success for Joachim Low’s side.
So we don’t really know where we stand with the Germans at the moment from a betting perspective, although there’s no doubt that they will want to add the European Championship crown to their World Cup success. Either way, they will be entertaining to watch.
Two matches, two draws. We didn’t learn much about Spain from their double-header of friendlies, and they probably didn’t learn much about each other in truth.
Vicente del Bosque may have learned that in Aduriz he has a forward that can be trusted to come up with the goals needed to win a big tournament. The 35-year-old bagged Spain’s goal in their 1-1 stalemate with Italy on Thursday.
But it was their 0-0 borefest with Romania on Sunday that caught the eye for all the wrong reasons. The Spaniards enjoyed 72% possession but could only conjure up four shots on target; gone are the days when they could cut through teams at will.
The Romanians developed something of a reputation as defensive specialists in their Euro ’16 qualifying campaign – remember this when constructing your own football betting tips – but even so Spain should be able to beat them if they have aspirations of defending their position as European champions.
Remarkably for fans of English football, the Three Lions have emerged as the fourth favourites for Euro ’16 after that fine win over Germany. The English are a curiously bipolar bunch – ranging from wild optimism to staunch pessimism seemingly in the blink of the eye, and for all the positives from that 3-2 triumph in Berlin the negatives cannot be ignored. They were 2-0 down before the Germans took their foot off the gas.
Little was learned in their 1-2 defeat to the Netherlands on Tuesday night as Roy Hodgson decided to try an experimental shape and team selection. Pleasing was the goal-form of Jamie Vardy and the performances of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Kyle Walker. Less so were those all-too-frequent English frailties in defence.
They’ve attracted a lot of interest at 10.00, but historically this is not a tournament they perform well in.