Group E is the proverbial group of death in EURO 2016 with Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Republic of Ireland. Find out how the field stacks up on the sports betting exchange.
Group E Preview
Belgium emerge as Group E favorites but on EVEN money it’s hard to say they have the group cornered. What is most surprising is they receive this nod at the expense of Italy, who were 2012 runners-up to Spain and have won the competition in 1968. Not to mention, they are one of Europe’s most successful nations in World Cup having won the coveted title four times (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006). Belgium’s international resume pales in comparison, although they are flush off a commendable run in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Indeed, Italy, priced at +163 to win Group E on the soccer odds, is sure to give Belgium a run for its money. Soccer bettors can’t overlook a Zlatan-Ibrahimovic inspired Sweden either or dangerous floaters Republic of Ireland.
Table 1: Group E Betting Odds at Pinnacle Sports
|Nation||Group Winner||To Qualify||Top 2 Finish|
|Republic of Ireland||+1000||+125||+275|
Belgium’s Youth Trumps Italy’s Experience?
For the last four years, Belgium have been touted as the team to spot in international competition, for a generous crop of young players that are becoming stars in their own right at club level. However, the team has yet to come through on its billing and hype. Belgium didn’t appear in EURO 2012, but two years later they made an impression in Brazil following a run into the quarterfinals where they lost to eventual runners-up Argentina 1-0.
Italy, meanwhile, lost some of their shine we’d wager for an underwhelming account in Brazil, where they finished third in group play behind Costa Rica and Uruguay. In fact, things started brightly for Italy with a 2-1 win over England in their opening group match but a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in the second match proved the Azzuri’s undoing as they went on to lose to Uruguay in their final group match by the same score.
While Italy’s account in Brazil left much to be desired, the nation typically comes up big in major tournaments. Italy went unbeaten in qualifying with a 7-3-0 account and Antonio Conte’s side will be eager to continue the momentum in France.
Sweden Dangerous Floaters
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is synonymous with Sweden and the nation’s fortunes lie largely in his X-factor. Sweden comes into the tournament via the playoffs (defeated Denmark), but that shouldn’t take anything away from the Scandinavians. Their last European campaign was a disappointment as they finished fourth in group play with a 1-0-2 mark, but some allowance must be made for the quality of the field that included England, France and Ukraine. In no uncertain terms that was one of the so-called ‘Group of Death’ of the competition. One has to consider Sweden will fancy its chances this time around.
Finally, Republic of Ireland will look to build on their European resume after qualifying for a second-straight tournament. Their last outing was unmemorable – three losses in group play saw them finish fourth and exit the tournament without striking an audible chord (scoring one goal and conceding nine). Their qualification campaign this time around has some soccer bettors optimistic about the Boys in Green. They finished third in qualification with a 5-3-2 record but along the way proved they could mastermind the upset after holding Germany to a 1-1 draw (away) and, then, stunningly, beating Germany 1-0 at home.
All in all, this group is wide open in our opinion with each and every nation having a viable shot to reach the knockouts. Established wisdom points towards Italy as the choice soccer pick to win the group, but Belgium could underscore their favoritism too. That said we can’t ignore Sweden or Republic of Ireland as the pair are dangerous floaters that could potential turn the table on it’s head.
Soccer Predictions: Italy and Sweden to advance