As it Stands
Italy kicked off the tournament with a professional win over many people’s dark horses Turkey. The hosts dominated the game whilst Turkey offered very little, leaving Italy in pole position to top the group at odds of 2/13.
Wales left it late but managed to earn a point against Switzerland in a match where they were second-best for large periods. The result leaves the group wide open behind the likely winners Italy.
Italy look like sure-fire group winners but unfortunately offer little value in that department. However, WilliamHill are currently offering 11/10 for the Azzurri to win all their group games which looks good based on the opening games.
In terms of qualification, Switzerland have been the next most impressive side and can be backed at odds of around 8/5 to finish second in Group A. Breel Embolo caught the eye against Wales and could help the Swiss to a victory over Turkey at 12/5.
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As it Stands
Belgium unsurprisingly made easy work of Russia to take charge of Group B. Romelu Lukaku was on target twice as one of the tournament favourites got off to a strong start.
Denmark’s tournament was derailed by the traumatic events surrounding Christian Eriksen, who thankfully is in a stable condition. In terms of football, it allowed Finland to pick up three points against an understandably unfocused Denmark.
At odds of around 2/9, there’s perhaps little value in backing Belgium to top the group. Instead, backing Lukaku to win the golden boot at 9/4 with BetFred may be the smarter bet, especially given his brace in his opening game.
It’s difficult to see how Denmark will cope without their star man Eriksen, especially given the emotional stress placed on the rest of the squad. As such, Russia may be worth backing at around 23/10 to finish second despite Finland’s current three-point lead.
As it Stands
There were no shortage of goals in the opening two games in Group C. Austria weren’t totally convincing despite a 3-1 win over outsiders North Macedonia. The goal they gave up was particularly worrying and that defence will be put to the test against better sides.
Later that day the Netherlands won 3-2 against Ukraine having surrendered a 2-0 lead late on. Both the Netherlands and Ukraine looked dangerous in attack but showed defensive fragility.
The Netherlands are favourites to top the group and offer viable odds of 1/3 given their remaining opponents look very beatable. The side they beat, Ukraine, gave a good account of themselves and are priced at 6/4 to finish second.
Austria made hard work of beating North Macedonia and were likely to get carved open by an offensively aggressive Netherlands side. As such, the Netherlands to win and over 2.5 goals looks decent at 13/10 with bet365.
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As it Stands
England’s manager Gareth Southgate got it spot on against Croatia as his side picked up a deserved three points. Having beaten the next best team on paper, England are now shoe-ins to top the group.
Elsewhere Scotland put in a strong performance but were undone by a lack of quality in the final third and the expert finishing of Czech forward Patrik Shick. The Czech Republic look far from impenetrable but took their chances well and are now in a strong position to qualify following a 2-0 win.
There may be some value in backing 8/11 odds for England to win their remaining games against Scotland and the Czech Republic. The Three Lions should have little trouble in getting over the line, particularly given their impressive squad depth.
Croatia were favourites to finish second in this group but have slipped behind the Czech Republic in betting odds. After limiting England’s chances, Croatia has a good chance of getting a result against the Czech Republic and could yet sneak second place at odds of around 7/5 with PaddyPower.
As it Stands
The bookies fancied Spain to win the group with Poland in second, Sweden in third and Slovakia bringing up the rear. However, after the first round of fixtures, it’s Slovakia who lead thanks to a terrific 2-1 win over ten-man Poland.
Spain utterly dominated proceedings against Sweden but failed to convert possession into goals and were caught out on occasion, eventually drawing 0-0. These results leave the group wide open with everything to play for.
Many fancied an upset in Group E and given Spain’s inability to break down Sweden’s low block and their wastefulness in front of goal, top spot is certainly up for grabs. Slovakia pressed well and deservedly beat Poland giving them a two-point lead. A similar performance against Sweden in game two could make 5/1 odds on topping the group look kind.
For all Spain’s possession, they were unable to get the better of Sweden and it isn’t unrealistic to suggest Poland may also frustrate them. Poland cannot afford to lose and as such a low-scoring game looks likely. Under 2.5 goals in Spain vs Poland is priced at evens with 888Sport.
As it Stands
Hungary put up a fight against Portugal and almost got their reward but a late onslaught saw the European champions eventually cruise to a 3-0 win. The result leaves Hungary in a predictably tough spot whilst Portugal should seal progression with a point.
Germany were unable to find an equaliser after France took the lead in the first half. The World Cup holders looked dangerous on the counter and were relatively comfortable in fending off German pressure. The result leaves France and Portugal as the most likely group winners.
Portugal played well for large periods and crucially got over the line against Hungary’s low block. The more open style of play of France and Germany will arguably suit Portugal better and there’s every chance the 2016 winners top the group at 7/4 with BetFred.
France are the other likely contenders but their group-topping odds aren’t as appealing at around 8/13. Instead, if you fancy them to beat Portugal, 2/1 on winning all group games looks good.
Germany didn’t cope particularly well when France sat back and could face similar problems against Portugal and Hungary. Failing to breakdown either of those sides could open up a remarkable 40/1 lowest-scoring team market which may well be worth a punt.
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