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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 10:24 PM
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This is traditionally a very fun and unpredictable tournament. Unlike the World Cup, where underdogs can make a good run but can't quite win it, the Euros have seen some big shockers. Greece winning it in 2004 was a stunning upset.

Having said that, there are only 7 teams that realistically stand a chance of winning. In order of most likely to least likely to win it:

The new generation of young german players with Mesut Özil, Mats Hummels, Mario Götze, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer is an excellent one. The Germans always bring their A-game to these big tourneys, and they famously never lose out on penalties. Their squad is an all around strong one, with a superb midfield. Their main striker Mario Gomez have been on lethal form all season. I have already laid substantial money on Germany to win at 5/1. 7/2 is still a decent line. My pick to win it.

The reigning Euro and World champions, Spain has been the best national team for half a decade now. Consisting mainly of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, Spain can boast some of the worlds greatest players in their position, like Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, Xavi and David Villa. Spain will be looking to pass the ball quickly, penetrate defenses and outscore the opposition. Noone should be surprised if Spain wins this, well worthy of a bet in the 3/1, 7/2 range.

Only beaten by Spain in last years World Cup Final, the Netherlands have a good mix of technical briliance, (van Persie, Sneijder, Robben), and gritty determination (van Bommel, de Jong, Kuyt). This dutch team have been succesfull on the international stage for a long time, but never managed to reach the very top. With star striker Robin van Persie enjoying one of the best years in world football, that could be about to change. Netherlands should be recognized as serious challengers. 15/2 is very interesting.

This Italy team is not at the level of the team that won the 2006 World Cup, far from it. Several of the key players back then are retired or way over the hill. But Italy can still make a strong showing this summer. Gigi Buffon in goal is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Giorgio Chiellini is the skipper of the always solid italian defence. The midfield and attack is half a step behind the best teams in the world, but Italy is still a team to watch. A lot of people seem to be sleeping on them and it should make for some good betting lines. 14/1 is very tempting.

If Portugal is gonna have any hope whatsoever of winning the title, they need to have Cristiano Ronaldo fit and fireing for the whole tournament. Sure, there are other quality players to be found, (Nani, Pepe), but it all revolves around football's biggest megastar Cristiano Ronaldo. He has been outstanding for Madrid all season and will be looking to bring some major honors back to Portugal. 18/1 is a very, very good line for a underdog bet, people should be all over that.

After a horrific showing in the 2010 World Cup, France got rid of both the coach and a bunch of players that proved to be troublemakers with big egos. Whats left is a younger squad that seems more pleased working under Laurent Blanc. There are plenty of players to watch out for in this young squad, but I'm not quite seeing France going all the way. They are missing the star striker who will bang in goals and push them all the way through. Don't really see France winning, stay away from this one unless the line goes through the roof.

Even though it's not my home country I love England, I love the country, the history, the passion for football. But it's not happening. It's not happening for the Three Lions. Englands time was 4-5 years ago, when Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry, A. Cole and the rest where in their prime years. Now their past it, everyone of them. To make the misery even deeper for England, Wayne Rooney is banned for the first 3 games after a making a fool of himself. To be fair to the englishmen, they do have a new generation on the go, that might do some damage in Brazil in two years, but it's too early for the young lads. England is not winning this. I would stay away.

Jeesus, this started out as a Quick Reply and ended as a guidebook. Oh well.

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