Euro 2016 (June 10 – July 10 in France) will feature 24 nations vying for continental glory. We’ve already looked at the futures for the tournament as a whole and the Golden Boot. As the start date draws nearer, we know have enough info to set the odds to win each group.
While winning your group will get you the best draw going forward into the knockout stage, failure to top your quartet isn’t a death sentence: the top-two teams from each group will advance along with the four best third-place finishers.
Which teams are going to dominate the round-robin? Let’s take a look at the group-winner odds.
- France: 4/11
- Switzerland: 9/2
- Romania: 11/1
- Albania: 28/1
France have a solid team that’s grown over the last three years. As the host, they’ll have an obvious boost, but the talent is also there. They might have problems against Switzerland, but on the whole they got a very favorable draw.
- England: 11/13
- Russia: 10/3
- Wales: 11/2
- Slovakia: 10/1
England won all of their games in qualifying, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t trust the Three Lions in big tournaments. Even so, Group B isn’t exactly stacked. Russia and Wales will play them hard, but they’re outmatched in terms of personnel.
- Germany: 2/5
- Poland: 5/1
- Ukraine: 17/2
- Northern Ireland: 33/1
The only challenge Germany will find in this group is Poland. The Poles have excellent top-end talent with Robert Lewandowski, but they don’t have the depth to keep up with Germany over 90 minutes. Ukraine and Northern Ireland will fight for third.
Czech Republic: 10/1
Group D should be one of the most entertaining. Spain are the obvious favorites, but after the 2014 World Cup, there’s some cause for concern with three other decent sides rounding out the group. Croatia, Turkey, and the Czech Republic are all talented teams that believe they can advance on the strength of their offenses.
- Belgium: 6/5
- Italy: 7/5
- Sweden: 6/1
- Republic of Ireland: 12/1
A decade ago, it would have been hard to fathom Belgium being favored over four-time World Cup champs Italy; Belgium haven’t even been in the tournament since 2000. But this is the Golden Age of Belgian soccer and a bit of a bear market for Italy.
- Portugal: 1/1
- Austria: 9/4
- Iceland: 13/2
- Hungary: 14/1
Group F is replete with longshots, but someone will have to win. Belgium’s struggles to make the tournament look like child’s play compared to Hungary, who are making their first appearance since 1972, and Austria, who have made just one since 1960. But at least they have some Euro track record; Iceland are making their debut. Veteran Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t the most inspiring side, but they’re clearly a cut above in this group of upstarts.
(Photo Credit: Ludovic Péron GFDL CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.