Euro 2016 – Where’s The Value?

We’re just 18 months away from the next big international tournament as far as European countries are concerned. Euro 2016 will be hosted in France 18 years after the country memorably hosted the World Cup.

Of course on that occasion, the home nation emerged victorious and they’ll surely be strong contenders again on French soil. But they aren’t pre-tournament favourites. That honour, instead, goes to neighbours, traditional rivals and current World Cup holders Germany at around 7/2.

France are around 4/1, whilst holders and 2008 winners Spain are at 6/1 followed by England at 11/1.

Both latter teams will be desperately keen to make amends for pretty awful showings in the World Cup. But it’s two of the next three teams in the market that make most interesting reading. Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands are all roughly around the 12 or 13/1 mark. And history has demonstrated at both the European Championship and the World Cup the teams that tend to fare best are those that have done so in the past.

In other words, when you’re venturing in to international football betting, it can often be wise to go for the value bets based on history rather than current form at shorter odds. So from this point of view, both The Netherlands and Italy look interesting.

Both countries look like qualifying and both countries have a history of showing up at major world tournaments in mediocre form – then radically out-performing.

Italy spectacularly failed to do this in Brazil, crashing out at the first stage along with England (and despite beating England 2-1 in their opening game) but will surely be under huge pressure to do a lot better in neighbouring France. This is exactly what they achieved in the last European Championship of Euro 2012 when they reached the final – only to be soundly beaten 4-0 by Spain.

The time to back Italy is always when expectations are lowest – and they really couldn’t be much lower. But Italy are quietly doing what they need to do to qualify – and could well go a lot closer than the market suggests.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, are rocking – having suffered embarrassing defeats to both Iceland and the Czech Republic under new boss Guus Hiddink. The former Chelsea boss had even threatened to quit if the Netherlands had lost to Latvia back in November. But there’s no more experienced a coach out there and Hiddink’s previous spell as manager of the national side from 1995-1998 saw the team go close to World Cup victory in France as they only lost on penalties to Brazil in the semi-final.

As things stand, the Netherlands’ very qualification for Euro 2016 looks to be in some doubt. But Hiddink will surely turn things round in time. The Dutch side can turn up in France as strong contenders – and surely nowhere near the current 13 or even 14-1 on offer.

To find true value in major football tournaments, it pays to be a little contrarian in our thinking and to look to history. So The Netherlands and Italy is where this value hunt clearly takes punters today.

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