Euro 2020 will finally get underway on Friday when Italy faces Turkey in Rome. The match will kick off a competition that has been delayed over a year by the pandemic, and it will be a great way for soccer bettors to get their fix while domestic leagues are in offseason mode.
As usual, the field is wide open heading into the Euros. France, fresh off of a dominant showing at the 2018 World Cup, are the presumptive favorites. France came close to winning the 2016 Euros on home soil before a shocking defeat to Portugal in the final. Belgium is looking to win a major competition for the first time with their loaded crop of talent, while England boast a young, promising squad of their own.
Betting on the favorites may be the safest course of action when it comes to wagering on the Euros, but where’s the fun in that?
You stand to earn a bigger payday if you take a shot on an underdog with longer odds. Anything can happen in these kinds of competitions. Nobody expected Portugal to win in 2016, especially after Cristiano Ronaldo went down with an injury early in the final.
Euro 2020 is shaping up to be fascinating, with Europe’s top talent on display over the course of the next month. Here are five under-the-radar squads that could raise some eyebrows and prove to be worthwhile long-shot betting options.
Italy is a country with a long and decorated history when it comes to soccer, but they haven’t been seen on the international stage in quite some time. The Italians have won four World Cups all-time, though their most recent triumph was back in 2006. Italy won the Euros for the first and only time in 1968.
Italy won Group E at the 2016 Euros before falling to Germany in penalties in the quarterfinals. That began a downward trend for the team, though, as they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. That was the first time since 1958 that they missed out on the tournament, but they have rebuilt in the few years since.
The Azzurri had no problem qualifying for the Euros, as they were one of just two nations that won every single match during the qualifying stage. Italian teams have been known for their hard-nosed defensive styles over the years, but Roberto Mancini’s version is more attack-minded. Rather than sitting back and inviting pressure, the modern-day Italian side is full of two-way players focused more on possession and pressing whenever possession is lost.
Ciro Immobile has scored 15+ league goals in 5 consecutive seasons.
Ciro Immobile has lit up Serie A with Lazio in recent years, but he has gained a reputation as a striker that tends to go quiet in big situations. He can silence the doubters with a strong showing this summer leading the line for Italy.
With a gang of proven commodities in defense (Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma), Italy will be a tough side for opponents to crack. This has the look of a team that could quietly go about its business and make a deep run into the tournament. At +900, you could do a lot worse than taking a shot on the Italians to bounce back from their World Cup failure to win Euro 2020.
Like Italy, the Netherlands are a traditional European soccer powerhouse coming off of some lean years. The Dutch also failed to crack the field for the 2018 World Cup, which has led to some changes within the squad. Le Oranje will be without star defender Virgil Van Dijk as he continues to recover from a torn ACL, but there is still a lot to like here.
Memphis Depay has rejuvenated his career in France after a lackluster stint with Manchester United, and the Dutch will be hoping that he can bring his club form with him onto the European stage. Gini Wijnaldum and Frenkie de Jong will provide stability in midfield. Matthijs de Ligt and Stefan de Vrij can hold down the fort in defense without Van Dijk.
Mourinho: "I think Koeman's departure didn't help the Dutch National Team. The players will look up to Frank de Boer because of the career he had as a player, but his career as a coach hasn't been great. I don't see them reaching the Final or Semi-Final." [@TheSunFootball] pic.twitter.com/cqWc3dsA3O
One thing that could hold this team back is its manager. Frank de Boer took over when Ronald Koeman left for Barcelona, and his managerial track record is spotty at best. Deciding against calling up a replacement for Donny van de Beek was a questionable decision. The Netherlands’ showing this summer will likely go a long way toward determining whether de Boer even retains the job moving forward.
Holland are a side trending in the right direction. While we may have to wait until the next World Cup to see the squad at its best, they can announce their return with a good showing at this year’s Euros.
Austria are not considered to be a traditional power by any means. That said, this is quietly one of the most talented squads in the entire competition. The fact that you can get the Austrians at +10000 to win it feels like a total steal.
Austria’s squad for the Euros features a total of 21 players that come from Europe’s “Big 5” leagues in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France. Real Madrid’s newest signing David Alaba, is probably the most recognizable face, and he has often played a utility role for the national side. He has been a defender for most of his club career, but he will occasionally moonlight in the midfield with Austria.
Eight Real Madrid players will be representing their national teams at the European Championships. Benzema and Varane, with France; Kroos, with Germany; Modrić with Croatia; Hazard and Courtois, with Belgium; Alaba, with Austria; and Bale with Wales. #EURO2020pic.twitter.com/bHQsh9HPma
RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer will be key in attack from the midfield, while Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner could be one of the young players to enjoy a breakout performance at the Euros. Former West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic, who currently plays his club soccer in China, is still a dangerous presence in front of goal at the age of 32.
There are no big names here other than Alaba, but there’s a sneaky amount of high-caliber talent littering the Austrian squad. They’re better than just about every other team you’ll find in the +10000 range, and they could give the Dutch a run for their money in Group C. Don’t be shocked if Austria prove to be a tough out this summer.
Euro 2020 is a bit different than previous versions. Rather than holding the entire competition in one host nation, this year’s edition will feature games all over Europe. Denmark, for example, will have the luxury of playing each of its three group stage matches in Copenhagen. That means they’ll face Belgium, Finland, and Russia at home in Group B play.
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is a recognizable face in goal. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Tottenham Hotspur fame will be tasked with holding the midfield, which allows ex-Spurs standout Christian Eriksen to pull the strings going forward. The Danes don’t feature a ton of star power in attack, but Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite and Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen are proven commodities in front of goal.
📊 Tottenham's best rated players in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino:
🥇 Harry Kane – 7.47 🥈 Christian Eriksen – 7.27 🥉 Dele Alli – 7.19
This side is just rock-solid all the way around. Group B is a bit tricky, but playing all of their games on home soil should help their chances of escaping into the knockout stages. Denmark beat out traditional powers like the Netherlands and Italy for a spot in the last World Cup, which is no small feat. Qualifying out of Europe is incredibly difficult, yet the Danes have made it to the finals in four of their last six attempts.
Denmark also got past the group stages at the last World Cup before falling to Croatia in penalties in the round of 16. Yes, the same Croatia side that wound up advancing all the way to the final. Denmark knows how to win and grind out results, so the +2500 odds on a run to a Euro title are quite attractive at soccer betting sites.
Poland do not have the same impressive track record that many of their major European rivals boast coming into the competition, but this side does have one very obvious weapon. That would be none other than Robert Lewandowski, who has risen to prominence in recent years as arguably the single best striker on the planet.
Lewandowski is fully capable of putting the team on his back and carrying them. We have seen Cristiano Ronaldo accomplish similar feats with Portugal over the years, though the Portuguese have given Ronaldo more help this time around. Lewandowski has scored more goals in a Poland shirt (66) than any other player in history, though fatigue could be an issue. Lewandowski has played a total of 60 games since May of 2020 after the restart, and he did miss some time following national team duty earlier this year.
Piotr Zielinski (Napoli), Arkadiusz Milik (Marseille), and Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus) are a few more recognizable faces in the squad, but Poland’s chances really just come down to Lewandowski’s ability to shoulder the load. If his teammates can get him the ball in favorable positions, his ability to capitalize is unquestioned.
Poland are a true sleeper at +7500. While it’s unlikely that one player can carry them to the promised land, nothing is impossible.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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