Euro 2012 odds: England v France could be closer than pessimistic England fans expect

 

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The Independent Online

Euro 2012 has arrived but for fans of England, the tournament isn’t really underway until the Three Lions are involved and the wait is now over with France awaiting Roy Hodgson’s side on Monday evening. These have been two of the closest matched teams according to the Euro 2012 Odds in recent months but as the tournament has neared, punters have begun to prefer France to England and it seems England are not attracting much patriotic money this year.

The England v France odds couldn’t separate these teams a couple of months back whilst England were a shorter price in the outright betting, there is a general feeling now that France are best of the ‘ outsiders’.  As a result, France have been backed from 14/1 into 9/1 to win Euro 2012 whilst England have drifted from around 10/1 to a readily available 14/1. France are the better side judged on recent meetings with three wins from the last four meetings but it is worth noting that these games tend to be close.  There has been one draw recently and the three France wins were all by a single goal margin. Therefore, it would be no surprise to see those backing the French ignore the 6/4 on France simply winning the game and instead go for France to win by a single goal margin at much bigger odds of 7/2.

England will not be able to call upon the services of Wayne Rooney for the first two matches due to suspension and that has certainly contributed to the bookies offering 2/1 on England opening Euro 2012 with a win. The usual patriotic bets for England at this stage in the proceedings has been replaced by a universal sense of realism and many fans aren’t expecting much to cheer about from what has been described as the worst England side in decades.

The main fears for fans seem to be that England won’t score enough goals without Rooney.  Those fears look just with two 1-0 wins in friendlies ahead of the tournament. Amongst the goals in those matches for England was Ashley Young who has been employed behind the striker so far under Hodgson and he could easily end up being England’s most consistent goal threat this summer having also been the joint top scorer for England in qualifying with three goals. Young can be backed at 9/1 to score first against France and 7/2 to score anytime in that match but the real value may lie with Young at 7/1 to be his nation’s top scorer this summer. Unlike Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young is likely to be England’s only ever present attacker at Euro 2012.

The bookies make the group stage the favourite in their England stage of elimination betting, a clear sign that expectations are very low. England have only been eliminated once at the group stage in 20 years so if that really is the case then that would confirm that this England team really is amongst the worst in recent years.

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