The race to qualify for Euro 2020 gets underway this week, with England among the hopefuls hoping to secure safe passage to the showpiece competition next year.
Reigning champions Portugal will look to defend their crown, but Gareth Southgate’s side are undoubtedly among those sides tipped to be a threat if they qualify.
In fact, it could easily be argued that they are amongst the favourites, and so backing them to sail through qualification could be a wise move. While that’s a potentially golden opportunity to pocket some major winnings, have a look at the best online casinos in the UK researched by SolicitorsGuru too as another avenue for big returns with crucial information on how winnings are taxed as well as all the need-to-know laws involved and a very handy list of the best online casinos.
The Three Lions will certainly be heavy favourites to pick up six points from clashes with Czech Republic and Montenegro over the next few days, but the pressure will be on for them to build on their impressive World Cup and Nations League showings from last year.
Elsewhere, two giants of European football meet as the Netherlands host Germany on Sunday night in one of the stand-out fixtures of the international break, while we’ll get a chance to take a closer look at World Champions France as well as the likes of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
It promises to be a fascinating build up to the tournament, with many of the top sides going through rebuilding phases to bring through the next generation that they hope will lead them to glory.
England have a wealth of quality young players looking to break through with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi called up to the latest squad, and although they will perhaps have longer-term aspirations for the World Cup, they are undoubtedly capable of making their presence felt in the more immediate future too.
Nevertheless, the same could be said of Italy under Roberto Mancini, while Luis Enrique will be desperate to replicate his success at club level with Spain.
Perhaps the most fascinating sub-plot will be how France build on last year, as if Didier Deschamps keeps the same core group together, they will certainly be considered among the favourites to go all the way and add a European title to their World Cup crown, just as they did in 1998 and 2000.
The smart money will undoubtedly be on them to pick up wins over the weekend, with Italy also heavy favourites against Finland and Liechtenstein, while few will fancy either Norway or Malta to get anything from Spain.
In turn, backing the favourites to start strong could be the sensible betting strategy, but there is bound to plenty of drama along the way.
With Cristiano Ronaldo still going strong and Virgil van Dijk leading Holland’s charge, Euro 2020 could yet be one of the most evenly-contested major international tournaments seen in years.
However, the priority for all concerned for now will be to ensure that they qualify, and as we’ve seen in recent years with the likes of the Oranje and Azzurri missing out on last year’s World Cup in Russia, it’s certainly easier said than done and so there should be no complacency this time round which makes it all the more sensible to back the Euro giants this weekend.