“Роберто Мартинес / Robert” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov
The delayed 2020 European Championships are now underway and, for the next four weeks, the focus is on International soccer. European teams dominated the most recent world cup back in 2018 so this is where the game’s strength currently lies.
The competition has only just started but early results indicate that there are certain teams to watch as the tournament develops.
England reached the semi-finals at Russia 2018 and Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions were many pundits’ favorites for glory at Euro 2020. England is in a tough group, however, and their opening match put them up against a Croatian side who had defeated them in that World Cup semi three years ago.
On familiar home soil at Wembley Stadium, coach Southgate and his men gained revenge with a 1-0 win to start the competition in style. The scoreline may have been a narrow one but it was an impressive performance overall with England looking particularly strong in defense.
Despite that opening win, England has slipped in the sports betting markets behind World Champions France who are the new favorites. The French have yet to play at the time of writing but that assessment from sportsbooks linked to Arabianbetting.com suggests that the World Cup winners may be on course to do the double.
Now that the betting has moved into the live section of sportsbooks companies, the markets will change quite quickly and Arabian betting will react to every kick of the ball as the odds are updated. News and opinion pieces will also be accessible throughout the Euros and anyone who is happy to make a move will find a range of betting companies, many of whom have generous welcome promotions in place.
Belgium is joint second favorites with England and the Red Devils started their Euro campaign in a more emphatic style. Roberto Martinez’s men saw off Russia by three goals to nil and it would have pleased the coach, and the team’s supporters, to see key striker Romelu Lukaku on target with a brace.
Belgium was also eliminated at the semi-final stages of Russia 2018 and many feel that they can go all the way in 2021.
Elsewhere, Italy also began their tournament with a 3-0 victory. This time, Turkey was the victims with goals from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne adding to an opening Turkish own goal.
The Italians are going under the radar to an extent but they are in impressive form coming into the Euros. The side hasn’t lost a full international match since September 2018 and they haven’t conceded a goal since October 2020. Italy is one of only two countries to have won all of their Euro 2020 qualifiers so maybe we should be taking them a little more seriously.
Over the first three days of competition, the other sides to have won their opening matches were Austria, Finland, and the Netherlands. Of those three, the Dutch are highly fancied by some tipsters but neither Austria nor Finland has too many backers.
While some strong countries have got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a solid start, many others are still to play after the first weekend. World Champions France is waiting to enter the contest and they are in a tough group with Germany.
Elsewhere, the defending European Champions Portugal are also due to start their competition in week two of the tournament. Led by the brilliant and inspirational Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese are highly fancied to carry out a successful defense of their title.
2012 European Champions Spain are also waiting to take their bow while Sweden and Poland are among the outsiders who could spring a surprise.
The good news for the neutrals is that the Euros have started well and we’ve already seen some entertaining contests. Hopefully, the pattern will continue over a long tournament that ends with the final at Wembley Stadium on July 11.
From a betting point of view, England, Belgium, and Italy have all started strongly and should be watched in the weeks ahead. France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain are among those who can also make a challenge.
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