This summer will see the 16th UEFA European Championship and the first to be hosted across the entire continent. June might seem a long way away, but the bookmakers are already studying the form and punters are getting their money down early on some long shots for the title.
Despite never having even made the final in the tournament’s history, the UK odds from Unibet are showing England to be tournament favourites at 5/1, with France just a little longer at 6/1. However, as Euro 2016 illustrated, this is a tournament that can throw up some surprises. If you are considering an early bet, let’s take a look at some of the dark horses that could be worth a pound or two.
After their incredible run in the 2018 World Cup, 25/1 look like very tempting odds for Croatia, and you can be certain that there will be plenty of takers. Part of the reason the bookmakers are being so generous is that World Cup stars like Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric have not been setting the world on fire for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively in recent months. However, commeth the hour, you cannot help thinking that they will rediscover their mojo. Croatia is, at any rate, a team where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Tournament favourites England know that better than most following the heartbreak of the Russia 2018 semi final.
Another team that has been something of a bogey for England, Poland is a team that has made a career of flying below the radar and pulling off surprises. A relatively friendly Group E draw could easily see them proceed to the knockout stages, and with the deadly Robert Lewandowski in the form of his life, any defence could be made to look silly. Of course, it takes more than one man to win a tournament like this, so the 80/1 odds being quoted by bookmakers are probably realistic. However, the 6/1 odds on offer for Poland to finish top of their group look mightily tempting.
The fact that Italy are seen as dark horses and not front runners is an indication of how the mighty have fallen in recent years. Their failure to qualify for Russia 2018 is a humiliation that still stings, but the side has been rebuilding under Roberto Mancini. At the time of writing, the Azzurri are riding a wave of seven consecutive wins, so they seem set to go into the tournament full of belief. They are currently an 11/1 shot to go all the way.
With only two previous tournament appearances and no wins to their name, you might think Austria are rank outsiders for Euro 2020. At 100/1, the bookmakers would agree, at least as far as winning the tournament is concerned. However, this is a team bristling with young talent, including RB Leipzig duo Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer. They are more than capable of beating the odds and getting their team beyond the group stage.