Euro 2012 is just around the corner as fans, pundits and punters study the form guides and latest odds to decide who can make it all the way, as bookmakers launch their Euro 2012 Free Bets to the public for the first time.
For lovers of the beautiful game, England’s Euro 2012 campaign could be a struggle.
Although a new manager has been elected and has promised to take the team forward, it seems as though the style in which he will try to do so will be heavily focused on defence.
Roy Hodgson has always been a manager who sets his teams up to be hard to beat but even the most hardened Hodgson fan must have thought he may expand a little whilst in charge of a national team like England.
But judging by their first two games under his charge, both 1-0 wins achieved in defensive and downright depressing style, England are going into the European championships with hopes of doing a Greece in 2004 and grinding their way to the latter stages. What they do have their favour is that they have a lot of pace and power on the break which may be enough to squeeze their way through the group, which consists of France, Ukraine and Sweden.
Betting wise, taking a look at the individual matches, the bookmakers, as usual, have England’s prices for a win in each game spot on. They are 21/10 to beat France, with their opponents at 6/4 and the draw a tempting 11/5, whilst against Sweden, which looks a must-win game, they are 10/11 with most firms to bag the win.
But there is a bet that stands out for their final fixture against Ukraine, and England fans are advised to look away now. England are bound to go into the final game needed a win or at best a draw to qualify from the group, the pressure will be on to go and attack. Something that Hodgson and England seem unlikely to do.
Hosts Ukraine will make life very tough for England in front of a partisan crowd and the current 3/1 (Bet Victor) on offer for a Ukraine home win looks far too big at this stage. That will be the crunch game in England’s quest to escape the group and their style of play suggests the Ukraine could stifle them.