Ahead of today’s first round of Euro 2012 Group C matches, here are our betting tips for who will win Group C and who is most likely to qualify from it to the quarterfinals.
Spain: 1.57 to win group, 1.14 to qualify
Winners back in 1964, World Champions, current holders and worthy outright favourites to make it a hat-trick of Major Tournament wins. They have a squad packed full of world class players with the ability to open up any defence, and although teams are likely to put 10 men behind the ball to frustrate them it’s hard not to see them proving far too classy for their rivals
Italy: 4.5 to win Group, 1.5 to qualify
Their sole win in the Euros came back in 1968 but the four-time World Champions should never been underestimated. Recent home defeats to Uruguay and the United States suggest the Azzurri are still a work in progress despite winning their group by 10 points, but they did beat Spain 2-1 in Bari last August. Man City’s Mario Balotelli is a key player in their squad and is likely to influence how far they go.
Republic of Ireland: 19 to win group, 5 to qualify
Only the second time the Irish have reached the Finals and, at first glance, hard to see Giovanni Trappattoni’s side making it out of the Group stages. But they have been written off before, and go into the tournament under no pressure whatsoever as rank outsiders. The evergreen Robbie Keane remains their key influence, while Sunderland’s James McLean has been one of the finds of the season and now has the stage to prove just how good he really is.
Croatia: 8.5 to win Group, 2.6 to qualify
Reached the quarter-finals four years ago when beaten by Turkey in a penalty shoot out and Spurs‘ playmaker Luka Modric is likely to be key if they are to progress to the knockout stages. Everton’s Nikica Jelavic, who has been outstanding for the Blues since leaving Rangers in January, and looks worth a small punt at 17 to be top goalscorer in the Group.
Recommended bets: Spain to win group – (1.57 Betfred)
Jelavic to be top Group scorer (17 Paddy Power)
For more Euro 2012 bets, see the Soccerlens football betting page.