The Euros started last night and really I couldn’t care less. TV is so bad that it’s good to have 3 games of football to watch every day for a week but I don’t care who wins. The best thing about football being back on is that I have something to gamble on again. International football may be boring, but you can always spice it up by having money riding on it. So although I’m not excited for the football, I am excited that PaddyPower get to take some more of my money.
I’ll start with England as technically I’m ‘supposed’ to be supporting them. They’re not being quite as hyped as much as they were 2 years ago when they flopped in the World Cup although most bookies in this country do have them down as the 3rd favourites to win the tournament for some reason. As an Evertonian I find it ludicrous that Roy has taken Stones over Jagielka after the season he has had and Bertrand over Baines. If there’s one thing England lack it’s a left footed set piece specialist and neither Rose or Bertrand can provide that.
There were some more odd decisions from Roy that could prove to be fatal, none more stupid than taking Jack Wilshere over Danny Drinkwater. Wilshere having played next to no football for the entire season while Drinkwater helped Leicester to the league title with consistency throughout the season. Jordan Henderson is another one, injured a lot this season and been poor when he’s played, not at all liked by Klopp and I feel like he could be handing the captaincy over to Milner at Liverpool next season. Also Marcus Rashford and Dele Ali. There’s no doubt that these two are amazing talents but they should still be playing for the under 21’s. Ali has a lot to learn and I think it’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t get a red card in this tournament and that could ruin a big game for England. Rashford I don’t think will actually get on the pitch because of the abundance of better strikers at Roy’s disposal, and with all those strikers, just get Rashford more experience with the under 21’s and add a centre back, a position in which they definitely don’t have an abundance of players. Suffice to say I don’t have high hopes for England this year, could be another early exit.
France are most people’s favourites, not only for their vast array of talent but also because of the home advantage. Their first game last night was underwhelming and Romania almost spoilt the party but Dmitri Payet silenced any doubters with an absolute screamer. As for me I won £28 and £10 worth of free bets so France started off the tournament well for them and for me. They’re a good team and have an easy group. If they get anything less than the Semi-Final it’ll be a real disappointment because they certainly have a winning squad, just a bit suspect at the back.
World Cup winners Germany are always my pick for the big tournaments and this year is no difference. They don’t have the experience they once did with the youngest average squad but they always have the best team chemistry and have a lot of goal-scorers and game-winners. It might not always be crowd-pleasing football but I think Germany will win.
Belgium and Italy are the other names being mentioned as potential winners. Belgium have a very desirable attacking squad with Lukaku, Benteke, and Origi all vying for the centre forward role. They’ll be supported by a vast array of talent behind them including Eden Hazard who may not have had the best of seasons but finished it strongly and always has the potential to light up a team and the tournament. At the back they have one of the best goalkeepers in the World in Courtois but without Vincent Kompany there will be a lack of leadership and that team can definitely leak goals. Italy are a bit like Germany in the way that they don’t play like a group of individuals from different clubs they play as a team. Their communication is always good and that makes them good at the back and good in possession. Whether they have the goals in them I don’t know but they could scrape through a lot of games with 1-0 wins against the poor teams and the strong teams.
Spain I think are the dark horses of the competition. Forgotten about a bit in recent years and had an awful World Cup but they’ll be eager to make up for that and certainly have the team to do well. They have a seemingly easy group and if they get their confidence up and top the group they could be well on their way to winning. If David De Gea can continue his form he could make up for any gaps in the back 4 like he did all season for Man Utd and although you don’t think of goalkeepers as being match winners, he certainly is. At the other end of the pitch they’ll have Morata, my tip for the highest goalscorer in the tournament. He’s been excellent all season but this is his real chance to shine and I think he will.
Every team seems to have one big name; Portugal with Ronaldo, Wales with Bale, Poland with Lewendowski, but whether or not any of those teams can do anything with that one player as inspiration is another story. They’re definitely all game-changing players so one bit of magic from any of them against one of the big teams could provide the tournament with a big upset. I’ve also heard a few things about Iceland, Austria, and Croatia, all teams that pundits think could be the one to provide the shock and knock out one of the big teams.
Of the other home nations I don’t think Ireland or Northern Ireland will be much of a threat to anyone, but Wales have a reasonably strong squad. As much as they will be reliant on Bale, a lot of teams would love Ashley Williams at the heart of their defense. He’ll organise them at the back and is capable of making goal-saving tackles. They’ll also have Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen in the midfield. Ramsey hasn’t had the season he did last year but he’s a good player and pops up with important goals. Joe Allen has been an under-rated game changer this year for Liverpool and thrived when he got the chance due to Henderson’s injury. I can be him being a big part of Wales success.
I do like watching football but I feel like most of this tournament will only be worth watching when I have money on the line. The most important thing though is that I hope there are no terrorism or violence issues that overshadow the whole competition and that everyone who’s in France for the tournament stays safe while they’re there.