Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Iceland on Tuesday night brought an end to the first round of group games in Euro 2016. We’ve seen what each team in the competition has to offer and there were a few surprises along the way. This is what the group stages have offered us so far:
#EURO2016 first round stats:
7 clean sheets
40 yellow cards
2 red cards
Bring on the second round!
— Football Super Tips (@FootySuperTips) June 14, 2016
Surprise of the Tournament
One of the biggest surprises so far in Euro 2016 is the fact that there haven’t been any real standout performers in the way of teams. France struggled to get past Romania, Germany were unconvincing at the back against Ukraine, Spain took 87 minutes to get past the worst defence in the finals, and England couldn’t hold on to a lead against Russia. This should make for a really open tournament that might even be edged by one of the dark horses.
This lack of a standout performer has resulted in a lot of low scoring games, and as you can see from the stats above just two games so far have resulted in Over 2.5 goals. Hopefully we should see an increase in goals now that certain teams have to push for a victory though.
As far as specific results go, the shock of the tournament so far has to go to Hungary. The underdogs are appearing in their first major tournament since 1986 and put in an excellent team performance to see off an Austria side who were touted as dark horses of the competition. This puts them in an excellent position to go for qualification from the groups, and Iceland’s shock draw against Portugal leaves that group wide open.
Disappointment of the Tournament
Belgium’s golden generation have let us down if their performance against Italy is anything to go by. They lacked cohesion and organisation and never looked like a major threat to a solid Italy back line. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi seemed to have forgot how to finish and world class players such as Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne looked incapable of working together. They even looked dodgy at the back against Italy, who are nowhere near as strong going forward as some of the other teams in the competition. It looks like Belgium will have to wait another two years to make their mark on a major international competition.
Who Are We Tipping?
As far as the outright winner goes we still fancy England’s chances. Whilst they may not have been able to add the finishing flourish against Russia they were undoubtedly better than we have seen them for a long time at a major finals. They passed the ball with style and had many opportunities to get a win against the second favourites in the group. If they can beat Wales and Slovakia to top their group they should still be in for a long haul in France. The lack of a standout performer can be seen as an advantage for England too, as I don’t think any team so far have outperformed England massively.
The bookies are in agreement with us too. England’s odds for winning have shorted from 9/1 at the start of the tournament to 17/2, which isn’t a huge drop in price but still indicates that the bookies think we have a better chance now. I’d back it soon if you haven’t already because a win against Wales is likely to result in a large price drop.
Possibilities for Italy?
Italy were barely mentioned in the build up to Euro 2016. They weren’t seen as favourites for their group and their lack of attacking threat and their ageing squad were seen as massive stumbling blocks for them. That all changed against Belgium.
Their back line, made up entirely of Juventus players, was incredibly well drilled and provided some creative outlet through Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. The midfield retained possession well and the likes of Antonio Candreva and Emmanuelle Giaccherrini provided some much needed energy. Graziano Pelle might not be the best striker in the world, but he bagged an important goal that will have boosted his confidence. The Italians have survived their toughest test in the group, and if they can win their group they have a real chance of a deep run. They always turn up their performances when it matters as well.
bet365 have seen some potential in the display as well, slashing their odds from 18/1 at the start of the tournament to 10/1 after their win against Belgium.