So, last night ended the final set of group games – and there have been some shocks! It’s been a fantastic tournament so far, with my dark horse Austria looking awful and finishing bottom of their group, while Russia had been awful and were also 4th in Group B. Here’s how each went, and the result of each of my ante-post bets:
This one looked pretty cut and dried from the off. France and Switzerland to qualify, but nobody saw the difficulty of beating Albania coming. Both France and Switzerland really struggled to break them down – while they actually beat Romania, who had caused the first two problems as well.
The tip for this group was a France/Switzerland 1-2 @ 11/8, and it came in thanks to a 0-0 draw between them at the end.
Group B was one of the hardest to call – but one thing was for sure, and that was Russia would be awful and they duly obliged. Wales and England went through after the latter messed up what was an easier route to the final, so now England face Iceland, with France, Italy and Spain all in their side of the draw. Slovakia were my outsiders to qualify, and did so @ 11/10.
The bet for this group was for Slovakia to score 3 or more goals @ 5/4 – and they did so!
The toughest part of this group was picking Ukraine or Poland to come 2nd – I picked Ukraine to go through with Germany @ 7/4, but they were utterly awful! Poland beat Ireland and Ukraine to end up 2nd. Northern Ireland also made it through in 3rd and go on to face Wales, while Germany face Slovakia and Poland face Switzerland. It was a fairly dull group – not many goals around, but well done to Ireland!
Ukraine-Germany to qualify in the top two @ 7/4 failed.
It was a matter of Croatia vs Spain to decide the group, and with one of the last kicks, Croatia beat the reigning champs! Turkey were very disappointing, while the Czech’s were pretty awful. Croatia look a good bet to go far, facing Portugal next, while Spain have to deal with Italy.
The bet for this group was Czech to finish bottom @ 6/5 – easy win in the end as Turkey beat them 2-0.
Everyone thought this was a cut and dried case of Italy and Belgium – and it kind of was. Italy beat Belgium, but then Belgium won their other two games while Italy lost to Ireland, allowing the Republic through as a best 3rd placed side. Sweden were awful in all three games and only managed a shot on target in the three combined!
Belgium/Italy to qualify in the top two was the tip, winner @ 1/1
This was the weirdest group I’ve ever seen! Hungary finished top when everyone including myself though they’d be awful, and Portugal to qualify with Austria – the form team of the group. Incredibly, Iceland won their final game in the final minute to come 2nd, Portugal going through in 3rd and Austria stone dead last!
No winner from my tip for this group, which was Austria/Portugal top 2.
4 winners in 6, a return of around 70%.
Last 16 is interesting, had England won their group they’d have had an easy route to the Semi’s, at least. Instead, they have to face Iceland, and then France possibly leading to a semi final with Germany or Spain, or Italy.
Draw in Full:
Switzerland vs Poland
Germany vs Slovakia
England vs Iceland
Spain vs Italy
France vs Rep Ireland
Wales vs N Ireland
Belgium vs Hungary
Croatia vs Portugal
Should be a great set of games – a preview will be up soon!