Stan Hey: 6-5 against

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The Independent Football

Is it hurting yet? You know, the sight of national teams involved in pre-tournament friendly matches; England trudging off to Trinidad for a "big" game; the chance Steve McClaren might land a lucrative job with a Dutch team? Yes, Euro 2008 starts without us next Saturday. Fans are depressed, the bookies even more so – the expected windfall won't be coming their way. Boylesports have gone to the length of offering a refund if your team loses in the final to drum up business.

So who to pick? The Dutch have the most Premier League players (eight), while France have six and Portugal and Spain five. Will fans bet along "club" lines? Chelsea for France (Anelka, Makelele, Malouda) Manchester United for Portugal (Ronaldo, Nani), Liverpool for Spain (Torres, Xabi Alonso)?

I'd fancy Spain if it wasn't for their poor record. I can't back the favourites, Germany, ever, while France look on the wane. The Dutch defence looks weak while Portugal are talented but brittle. Italy it is then (£10 win, at 7-1 generally), with £2.50 each-way on Russia (33-1 Betfred) as best outsiders and a fiver on Fernando Torres as top scorer (9-1, generally).

At a raucous Wimbledon tonight the Blue Square Greyhound Derby is on late. The sponsors can't separate Tyrur Kieran, Loyal Honcho and Tyrur Laurel, making them 11-4 co-favourites. But Kryptonite in trap one may escape this battling threesome and zip in (100-30).

Last week's wagers

The play-offs were tight, but not tight enough to go to penalties (£12 lost) and while Jupiter Pluvius (4th) and Carribean Sunset (3rd) ran promisingly in the Irish Classics they didn't win (£10 lost).