Guest blogger Richard Smith of Englandbettingodds.com polishes his crystal ball and takes a look at some of the England markets available for punters before the start of the tournament.
With the threat of a smear campaign being launched against Englandâ€™s new boss, Roy Hodgson, after he ignored the squad selection claims of Rio Ferdinand, England head to the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine already under pressure.
The beauty of Hodgson however is that he is very broad shouldered and has an uncanny ability to fend off negatives and concentrate solely on the positives. He was not every England fans idea of the next national team manager but he made it very clear that he he wanted the job more than anything else. This is clearly a trait that confirms that Roy Hodgson is a man who is prepared to stand up and be counted!
The performances of his England side at Euro 2012 will undoubtedly be the yardstick from which he is judged by the FA, the media or the fans. A good tournament and he will be a hero a bad one heâ€™s a failure and will be facing an up hill battle come the start of the World Cup qualifiers in September.
All that said, what can Hodgson and the England team achieve at Euro 2012? What actually would be regarded as abject failure, modest failure or better still, success?
Here are five bold predictions for the fate of England at Euro 2012:
- England will open their campaign with a scoreless draw against France, a result that should help enormously in qualifying from Group D and into the knock out stages. The two friendlies for which Hodgson has been in charge against Norway and Belgium has seen the side put up solid defensive performancesÂ and that can continue.
- England will defeat both Ukraine and Sweden in Group D but will only finish in second place behind France. “Les Bleus” will also win their other two games in the group but will finish above England with a slightly better goal difference. England and France will therefore qualify to meet either Italy or Spain in the Quarter Finals.
- England will be eliminated at the Quarter Final stages of the tournament by Spain. Whilst the draw for the group was kind to England, the fact they will play a team from Group C in the Quarter Final was not so kind and with Spain likely to top that group, it is likely that the last eight will be where England’s European Championship hopes come to an end.
- England will score a total of just three goals in four matches played. They will beat both Ukraine and Sweden by 1-0 and lose by 2-1 in the Quarter final. England can be backed to defeat Sweden 1-0 at 11/2 via Paddy Power and at 6/1 to defeat Ukraine by the same scoreline. England to score 4 goals or less in the tournament can be backed with Coral with odds of 11/8.
- Englandâ€™s three goalscorers will be Danny Welbeck, who will score against Sweden, Wayne Rooney, who will hit the winner against Ukraine on his return from suspension and Steven Gerrard who will score in the Quarter final.
Euro 2012 has got to be the first tournament in many years where England go in with little to no expectations from the fans or media. Bookmakers have reported nowhere near as much support for England as in years gone by and odds of 14/1 to win a tournament are much bigger than they would normally be. Fans with “blind faith” may even suggest that the lack of expectation could well work in the team’s favour but in reality it’s difficult to get excited about the current team.