As EURO 2016 awaits its turn on football’s centre stage, we bring you an early comprehensive look at Group D, which contains Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic and Turkey and determine a soccer pick.
Group D Preview
Spain lead the charge in Group D betting as the -175 favourites to triumph in the section. They are the absurd -1600 favourites to qualify for the knockouts and, obviously, the whopping -700 favourites to finish inside the Top 2. The way the rest of the field is priced in Group Winner betting, it would seem unlikely Croatia, Czech Republic or Turkey would give La Furia Roja a run for its money. Or is it?
The triplet are priced ever so tightly in qualification betting with all three on the short side of even money. Clearly, any one of these three nations has a viable shot to reach the knockouts. It follows they could potentially pose more trouble for two-time defending champions Spain than the market would have it, earning this section the old adage ‘the Group of Death.’
Table 1: Group D Betting Odds at Pinnacle Sports
|Nation||Group Winner||To Qualify||Top 2 Finish|
Spain Runaway Faves To Win Group D
For good reason the Spanish team is favoured to win their EURO 2016 section, not least they are also amongst the top faves to win it all. They are the defending champions, having won a second straight title in 2012, culminating a golden Era in Spanish football that spanned from 2008 to 2012 and included the 2010 World Cup and two consecutive European titles.
Spain became the first team to win back-to-back European titles after beating Italy 4-0 in Kiev, but, two years later, their World Cup defence campaign was left in tatters behind an untimely exit in the group stage.
Spain will be looking to clinch a third consecutive title in France and there are those soccer bettors that are optimistic about their chances to lift the Henri Delaunay Cup after going 9-0-1 in qualifying, picking up 27 of 30 points on the table. Granted Spain didn’t light up the global stage in their last international outing, but that only gives La Furia Roja incentive; they have something to prove after their ignominious exit in Brazil two years ago.
It’s really not hard to paint Spain as one of the favourites for our soccer betting tips. Vincente del Bosque’s side poses one of the most formidable outfits on paper in the competition. There are plenty of new players on the roster, a healthy blend of youngsters gunning for their moment in the spotlight and enough reliable veterans with experience to propel the side into the knockouts.
Croatia Second Favourites in ‘Group of Death’
Croatia emerge as the second favourites in Group D, but with Czech Republic and Turkey nipping at their heals, their market outlook cannot be taken for granted. Indeed, any one of this triplet has a viable shot to reach the knockouts, all having done so in previous tournaments.
In fact, Czech Republic won their qualifying group with a 7-1-2 record and 22 points – incidentally, Turkey finished third in the same group with a 5-3-2 record. Croatia, meanwhile, finished second in their qualifying group with a 6-3-1 record.
The Czech Republic has a rich history in the competition. If not the greatest in the field it’s still a respectable one which includes winning the title in 1976 as Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic has been competing as an independent nation since 1994 (following the break-up of Czechoslovakia) and have qualified for the tournament each and every time. They were runners-up in 1996 and reached the semis in 2004.
By comparison, Croatia have only been as far as the quarterfinals of Europe, accomplishing the feat in 1996 and 2008. Croatia obviously contributed its fair share of players to former Yugoslavia, who were twice runners-up but never champions. Finally, Turkey’s best result came eight years ago when they reached the semi-finals of the 2008 EURO Championships.
Of the tightly packed triplet, one has to concede the Czech Republic, on the strength of their pedigree in Europe, loom as the value soccer pick
Why the shine comes off of the Czech Republic (as well as Turkey one might add) in EURO 2016 betting markets we’d wager is partly down to the fact that they missed 2014 World Cup. Their absence from Brazil and lack of international competition in the last four years leaves soccer bettors with little to hang their hats on while Croatia did attend the global showpiece and finished third in group play with a 1-0-2 record.
It’s worth mentioning, though, the Czech Republic were quarterfinalists in the last European tournament after winning their group with a 2-0-1 record. They went out to Portugal in a 1-0 defeat. Croatia, meanwhile, who also qualified for EURO 2012, finished third in the group with Spain, Italy and Republic of Ireland.
All in all, this is quite rightly one of a few ‘Group of Death’ sections in the competition. Spain deserve to be favourites but the remaining three nations are dangerous floaters, any one of which can defy the soccer odds. It’s a tossup for our soccer picks, but, push comes to shove, we’re leaning towards Spain and the Czech Republic. That being said, nothing would surprise us here.
Soccer Predictions: Spain and Czech Republic to advance