Euro 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

A sizzling summer of football begins in Germany this week when 24 of the best nations in Europe head to the country to compete in Euro 2024 with each of them looking to show that they are top dogs in the continent.

Italy did that three years ago when they won the final against England on penalties and the Italians have made it through to the main draw again to look to defend their crown. This feels a much stronger tournament though so they’ll need to be on top form to keep the title.

Recent Winners

2020 – Italy

2016 – Portugal

2012 – Spain

2008 – Spain

2004 – Greece

2000 – France

1996 – Germany

1992 – Denmark

The Format

We have the same format that has been used for the last two of these tournaments. The 24 teams have been divided up into six groups of four with the top two in each group plus the four best third placed sides going through to the knockout stages so for the first fortnight of the competition we have a raft of matches to lose just eight teams – 33% of the field. That is important to remember when betting on side markets. From the last 16 onwards the tournament is a straight knockout ending with the final in Berlin on July 14th where the winners will be crowned.

Main Contenders

England are the favourites to win the tournament in most places. They are a best price of 4/1 to go one better than they did three years ago but generally 7/2 shots. We should remember that they were on home soil for the majority of that competition and couldn’t get the job done. If England are going to win this time around then you would think that Gareth Southgate will need to take the handbrake off because their defence looks much weaker than it did three years ago and injuries are very much a concern.

France knocked England out of the World Cup 18 or so months ago on their way to losing in the final to Argentina and they are also a best price of 4/1 to get their hands back on the European Championship for the first time in 24 years. Any side which has Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann in their ranks should be taken seriously but the question mark is whether this French side, who conceded just three goals in qualifying, can remain as strong defensively with four of the eight defenders they have selected having less than 20 caps.

Germany are the host nation this time around and they are 11/2 to be the first tournament hosts in 40 years to land the trophy. This has been a patchy three years since they were knocked out of the last Euros in the round of 16 by England. They couldn’t come out of a favourable group at the World Cup and some of their friendlies since then haven’t yielded the results they would have liked but there is a growing feeling the longer 2024 has gone on that they are starting to return to the place they’d like to be to compete for this title.

Portugal won this tournament in 2016 and they are around a 15/2 shot to get their hands back on the trophy eight years later in what will surely be the final hurrah in terms of tournament football for Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal didn’t offer up a great World Cup campaign, bowing out to Morocco in the quarter finals, but they were the top scorers in qualifying for this competition and they look to have an avalanche of top quality resources to call upon for a real good crack at this tournament.

Spain dominated this competition in the middle of what we have had of the 21st century so far but since they won this tournament for the last time in 2012 they have only gone past the round of 16 in one of four events they have competed in. That was in this tournament three years ago when Italy downed them on penalties but they are the reigning Nations League champions and won their last six qualifying matches to make it here. Some talented young footballers are 18 months more experienced since the World Cup so they will be fancied by many at 8/1.


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Dark Horses

Italy are the defending champions but few are talking about them at 18/1. One reason for that might be that since then they have failed to qualify for the World Cup and for much of their qualifying campaign it looked like they would have to go through the playoffs before controversially getting into second spot in the final round of matches. Seemingly nobody is talking about the Italians but with their club sides having made two of the three European finals this season that might be a mistake. A tough group and the lack of an out and out goalscorer are concerns.

The Netherlands are also 18/1 to get their hands back on the trophy which they last won in 1988 when that iconic Marco van Basten goal took them to the title. The Dutch were solid enough in behind France in qualifying after a World Cup campaign where they so nearly downed the eventual champions Argentina in the last eight. Ronald Koeman has strong defensive options at his disposal but the goalkeeper position is a concern as is a lack of creativity in the centre of the park. They are back in with the French in the groups too.

Belgium never got a tournament win under their belt when their golden generation were at its peak and you get the feeling this will be their last chance for a while because Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Meunier are all in their 30s and might not have another tournament in them. Finishing third in a group they were expected to dominate in Qatar hasn’t built confidence with the public but there are still players who if they play to their best could make 20/1 look a big price.

It is then 40/1 for the next team in the betting market in the form of the World Cup semi-finalists Croatia. They probably tick the same box as Belgium in that their time might have passed. This will be the last hurrah for Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic but to be fair to the Croats they do tend to overperform at tournaments. Their first issue will be a tricky looking group but the one thing which has gone against them in previous events has been the lack of a top class centre-forward. There still isn’t one which is a negative.

Betting

I really like Portugal for the Euros this year. If I’m honest I’m not cut up on the manager but when the players go out onto the pitch they look have had a squad as strong as anything in the competition and surely the entire squad will be motivated to send Cristiano Ronaldo, and to a lesser extent Pepe, off into tournament retirement with glory. Outside of Ronaldo, Portugal have a raft of attacking options. Diogo Jota will be going into the tournament fresh, as will Pedro Neto while Goncalo Ramos, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao offer up a number of quality players for Roberto Martinez to utilise and then there Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Neves and Bernardo Silva backing them up from the midfield. The Portuguese have a solid enough defence and a decent goalkeeper and some of this squad were involved in the 2016 win so know how to do it. Portugal have a group which they should win and then they’ll face a third placed side in the round of 16 if they do win the section and a runner up in the quarter final. They can’t ask for a better draw or squad so if the manager doesn’t bring them down Portugal have to be leading contenders here.

I always like a dark horse in this tournament. This used to be harder to win than the World Cup but now that they have brought half the continent into the competition that isn’t the case. We only lose eight teams, or 33% of the field, in the group stage of the tournament so if you win one of the three group games and don’t get smashed up in one of the others you’re a good thing to qualify and then we get into knockout football where the nerves, fine margins and dare we say it penalties come into play. That makes me think Switzerland could be a big price at 80/1. Clearly their World Cup campaign didn’t end how they would have wanted when they got annihilated by Portugal but they have had a better qualifying period than their record suggested and have players in their squad such as Granit Xhaka who has had an excellent season in Germany with Leverkusen and a good mix of experience with some exciting younger players. If Yann Sommer can avoid any calamities between the sticks I see no reason why a side with a spine of Sommer, Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schar, Denis Zakaria, Xhaka and Breel Embolo with Xherdan Shaqiri mixed in there too can’t go very well at odds of 80/1. I think Switzerland get out of their group and if they can do it in second spot they’d get a runner up in the round of 16 and worst case scenario England in the quarter finals. It is a draw that could open up nicely.

Tips

Back Portugal to win Euro 2024 (e/w) for a 2.5/10 stake at 8.50 with Betway (1/2 1-2)

Back Switzerland to win Euro 2024 (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

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