An Early Look at the Favorites to win the EURO 2016
The 2016 Euro Fixtures and Groups were decided in December 2015 and, since then, we’ve been ruminating over the best matchups and the top contenders in the competition. With less than a month before the official start of Euros in June, here is a succinct look at the soccer betting favorites to win the EURO 2016 tournament. Find the latest soccer sports betting odds here.
An Early Look at the Favorites to win the EURO 2016
Euro pedigree: Winners in 1984 as hosts, and winners also in 2000. This is France’s seventh successive Euros finals.
Noteworthy Names in the Team: Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial (both Manchester United), Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny (all Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid).
Coach Didier Deschamps, who led the French team to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014 and captained France to victory at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, brings tons of pedigree to the host nation, as they seek to win this prestigious competition. Working to his advantage is the fact that France was the last host nation to win the title, in 1984, and the 1998 World Cup won by the French was also held in France, so the hosts are well-capable of using their friendly home confines to their advantage.
Coaching and home advantage aside, France is a dynamic attack-minded team with an array of offensive skills, particularly in counter-attacking football. This electric offense is complemented with an athletic midfield and an above-average defense, giving Deschamps a solid group to work with. Added to the fact that France will be starting the competition in a soft Group A that features manageable opponents in Romania, Albania and Switzerland, it doesn’t look like the French team will be having problems in terms of having a quality start in the group stages.
Euro pedigree: Winners of Euros in 1972, 1980 (named as West Germany at the time) and 1996. Germany also reached the semi-finals in 2012.
Noteworthy Names in the Team: Manuel Neur, Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Tony Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United).
The Germany team has witnessed a bit of some drop in intensity since winning the 2014 World Cup, but don’t be fooled by their qualifying record—this is a team that knows how to light it up at the grandest of stages. No doubt, losing to Poland, and then dropping four points to the Republic of Ireland before being given a scare by Georgia in qualifiers is something to be wary of. But then again, Germany’s average possession of 67% was the joint-highest in Euro’s qualifiers, with Spain.
More notably, this team has already won three Euro titles and World Cup winner coach Joachim Löw led Germany to a runners-up spot in Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 semi-finals, so don’t take a nap on these sleeping giants. In terms of their football style, Germany’s game isn’t the sexiest to watch like you’d say for teams like Spain and Portugal, but they are bookies’ favorites in Euro 2016 because of their clinical ability on both ends of the field, especially in crunch time, making them as dangerous as any other favorite in the competition. Germany will start the competition by playing Northern Ireland, Poland and Ukraine in Group C.
Euro Pedigree: Are three-time winners of the Euro trophy. They have won the last two Euro campaigns in a row, making them the first team to retain the Euro Trophy.
Noteworthy Players in the Team: Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro (all Chelsea), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), David de Gea & Juan Mata (both Manchester United), David Silva (Manchester City), Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres.
Following their surprising and shameful exit from the World Cup at the Group Stage, and an early stumble against Slovakia in the Euro qualifiers, the Spanish team quickly bounced back and cruised into the Euro finals in an emphatic way. After winning the last two Euro Tournaments, veteran coach Vicente del Bosque is seeking to win a third-straight Euro trophy. And after winning three major tournaments in a row (Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012), you’d be a fool to think that their ambitions are unachievable.
In terms of talent, Spain has it all, starting from defense to offense, with their second starting 11 almost as good as the starting unit. With this kind of depth, experience and great coaching; I’d expect nothing less than the Semi-finals for this extremely endowed Spanish team.
Euro pedigree: Winners in 1968 as hosts, and finalists in 2000 and 2012. Italy has only failed to advance from the group stage twice in their Euro history (in 1996 and 2004).
Noteworthy Names in the Team: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Thiago Motta (PSG), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC), Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund), Graziano Pelle (Southampton).
With or without their Drama King Mario Balotelli, the Italians will be worthy of your attention as favorites. Undeniably, their qualifying campaign was less than stellar and their showing at the World Cup was simply disappointing. Then, of course, Antonio Conte is still experimenting with different formations and players, so their ceiling in Euro 2016 could be a bit suppressed. That being said, Italy has a habit of coming good in big competitions, especially in Euro. With that in mind, you should not write off these Euro 2012 finalists from producing the goods here, channeling into their solid defense that allowed them to claim five of their seven wins in the qualification by a single-goal margin.
Not to forget, coach Conte helped in making Juventus a dominant force in Italy’s Serie A league, winning three consecutive league titles, meaning Italy will be a well-coached group. As a note, though, Italy will be playing in a challenging Group E that features dangerous opponents in Belgium, Republic of Ireland and Sweden, so Conte’s boys will have their work cut out for them.
Other Euro 2016 Favorites to Watch Out For: Belgium, Portugal, and England.