Today is the day that the final group games are played, meaning that by around 9:30pm we’ll know the full line up for the quarter finals of Euro 2012 – as well as England’s fate.
Ukraine v England
If you’ve been following my posts on here you’ll know that this is the only group game I actually expected England to take 3 points from – as well as draws in the other two games – but, thanks to a hard fought victory against Sweden, we’re in a much better position that I’d hoped.
With England currently sat on 4 points, Ukraine on 3 and Sweden already eliminated, England only need a draw tonight to progress. It’s regularly very difficult coming up against the host nation, but that’s been far from the case this summer. Ukraine and Poland combined have only won 1 of their 5 Euro 2012 games thus far and Ukraine have never won in the Donbass arena, Donetsk, where tonight’s final game is held, despite having played there 4 times. Also, England are still yet to experience defeat under Roy Hodgson. Taking these factors into account, all signs point to England progressing. What could prove crucial to our Euro 2012 hopes, though, is whether we finish 1st or 2nd in Group D. Top the group and we’re faced with a very winnable game against Italy, whereas if we finish runner up we’d be heavy underdogs against tournament favourites Spain.
Although England haven’t particularly struggled to score goals in his absence, the return of Wayne Rooney up front is a massive boost for England. There are very few players in our squad who you can call world class, but Rooney is certainly that. Theo Walcott passing a late fitness test is also a massive boost for England, given the huge impact he had in the Sweden game, and he’s my tip for first goalscorer tonight, with Paddy Power refunding losing bets if Wayne Rooney scores at any time. I’ve actually got money on several England attackers to score first, as I’m hoping that one of them will come in and a Rooney goal will see my losing bets refunded, but Walcott (12/1) is great value. I also like the look of Welbeck (15/2), given his relationship up top with Rooney, Young (9/1) and Gerrard (10/1).
Prediction: Ukraine 0-2 England.
Best bet: England to win at 11/10.
Sweden v France
The “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” won’t be so quick to surrender tonight, as they know that a slip up on their part and an England win sees them face Spain in the next round. As much as I’d love to say that France won’t beat Sweden, I really can’t see it going any other way.
A bet I quite like the look of in this game is draw/France half time/full time at 7/2, as France have been level with their opposition at half time in both of their Euro 2012 games so far. If you want to maximise your chances of an easy profit, though, the safe money is on a straight forward France win.
Prediction: Sweden 0-2 France.
Best bet: France to win at 8/11.