EURO 2012 Group Stage Betting Review
The Group Stage of UEFA Euro2012 has wrapped up with some great games in the books and more than a few surprises. No matter how you felt about each team before the Group Stage, it was hard to predict that two of the top three teams would have mediocre to poor performances. Heading into the Group Stage Spain were the favorites, followed by Germany and Netherlands respectively.
In the third day of play, Spain could only tie Italy in a 1-1 draw. Suddenly Spain did not look so strong. Spain went on to beat Ireland, but Ireland lost every game, and Spain then edged out Croatia 1-0. But Croatia also tied Italy, neither ranked in the top five before the Group Stage, which suggests Spain is not much stronger than these two teams; and certainly not the top team in the tournament. Spain will face France in the Quarter Finals on June 23.
Group B was also a huge surprise. Exiting the Group Stage from Group B is Germany and Portugal. Netherlands failed to win a single game, even losing to Denmark who had the worst odds to win the tournament. Portugal took two games and lost one to Germany. Germany handled Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark to be the only team to exit the Group Stage with a perfect record.
The Czechs took first in Group A with two wins. Greece will also move on having beat Russia at the end of the stage giving them the runner-up position. Both Greece and Russia had identical records going into their head-to-head match-up.
Group D had an exciting finish as the winner of the England-Ukraine game would determine whether France would advance after their loss to Sweden. Because England won they took the top seed in the group and France gets the runner-up because they earned a single point by tying England earlier. Ukraine, having won only one game, is retired.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be a player to watch in the next round. Scoring no goals in Portugal’s first two games, Ronaldo stepped up with two goals in the team’s final game to grab a critical win. He had a 60-goal club season and it was surprising not to hear about him until the end of the Group Stage but perhaps it was just a matter of time. Many will be looking forward to the quarter final game between Portugal and Czech Republic. Interestingly, the Czechs feel they are prepared to neutralize Portugal’s Ronaldo threat.
Meanwhile Germany has now added three tournament wins to their ten straight qualifying round wins. The Germans have been touted for their many offensive weapons but it is their defensive strengths that the team tends to speak about most in the media. Perhaps it is their focus on technical game play that spawns this obsession with defense, but whatever the cause the Germans were impressed with how Greece beat Russia. Germany will take nothing for granted as they move forward. That said, the Germans are now the favorites moving into the Quarter Finals.
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