France, England Seen as Euro 2020 Favorites, But Face Long Roads


Defending World Cup Champion France and semi-finalists England have been installed as the favorites to take home the UEFA Euro 2020 title by sportsbooks on both sides of the Atlantic. But there are some discrepancies as to which side is the official favorite.

Gareth Southgate’s England squad is one of the favorites to win Euro 2020, but it won’t be easy. (Image: South China Morning Post)

Because of a dominant qualifying run, Les Bleus had been a prohibitive favorite for months at 4-1 odds, with England not far behind at 9-2. However, sportsbooks shifted the markets for both teams when the Euro 2020 groups were revealed on Saturday.

Some sportsbooks have retained France as top chalk, even though the team is playing in Euro 2020’s version of a “group of death.” Group F is home to France, Portugal and Germany, winners of the last three major international tournaments. The fourth side in that group will be determined by playoff matches between Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Belarus. Expectations for France run high despite the challenging group.

Anything but a place in the last four next summer would be considered a failure,” reports The Guardian.

Odds in the US reflect those expectations, with Caesars sportsbook posting Les Bleus at 3-1 to win the tournament, followed by England at 4-1. Those odds were published after UEFA announced the groups yesterday.

Tough Road

In the European Championship, the top two teams in each group advance, as well as the four best third place sides. So if France wins Group F, it would face a third place team from either Groups A, B or C. Italy. Switzerland, Turkey and Wales reside in A, and with the Azzurri installed at 12-1 to take home the crown, the team appears to be an unlikely knockout stage opponent for France.

In Group B, the cream of the crop is Belgium at 6-1 to win the tournament, so it’s likely France avoids that matchup in the first elimination phase. Other teams in that draw are Denmark, Finland, and Russia. Group C is home to the Netherlands, Austria, and Ukraine, and is awaiting another member to be determined by play-in games. Austria and Ukraine have among the longest odds to win the tournament. Caesars offers the Dutch side at 10-1.

If France cannot win their group, the road to Euro 2020 glory becomes significantly trickier. Assuming the World Cup champions finished second in the group stage, they’d face the Group D winner, likely either England or Croatia, the team France topped to win the World Cup in 2018.

The Czech Republic also resides in Group D, and a fourth team will be slated into the fray via upcoming play-in competitions.

Some Home Cooking

For Euro 2020, there is no official host country as there has been in years past. Rather, 12 cities in 12 UEFA nations will host games, and that’s good news for England, particularly if the Three Lions can make a deep run.

England’s first tilt is against 2018 World Cup nemesis Croatia at Wembley Stadium, followed by the Czech Republic, a match that will be played in London.

Speaking of Wembley Stadium, that world famous venue likely plays a part in the short odds sportsbooks have on England, because that’s the site of the Euro 2020 semi-finals and championship matchup.

That would be a remarkable home field advantage in an international tournament. But the Three Lions’ road to late stage glory at Wembley won’t be easy. Assuming they win Group D, their first knockout stage match would likely be against Germany or Portugal.


Source link

Leave a Comment