The Euros have given us some memorable moments, especially in the Round of 16. England appeared the slightly better side throughout their match with Germany and the 2-0 final line was justified. Sweden got hosed by a bogus red card, dooming them in the final minutes of extra time, as a well-taken cross netted the winner for Ukraine.
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The Croatians stormed back to tie Spain in regulation, only to run out of gas in extra time. France blew a 3-1 lead with just ten minutes to go, as the Swiss’ aggressive passing and attacking was enough to force a shootout victory.
The Dutch completely collapsed against the Czech Republic, while Italy needed extra time to get past a feisty Austrian squad. Denmark fired on all cylinders in their rout of Wales, and Belgium escaped the potent Portugal team, courtesy of a wicked outside-footed strike from Thorgen Hazard.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 29, 2021
A look at where things now stand
Last week, we put out a few picks for the Round of 16, as well as some futures. Only one appears to be a winner at this point, as France choked away a 3-1 lead to the Swiss, and Italy failed to break through against Austria inside 90 minutes.
England appears to be the bet with the best shot from here out, as they will only have one match to be played outside of England for the remainder of the tournament. England +275 to finish Top-2 was the bet, as they only need to get by a shorthanded Ukranian squad and either Denmark or the Czech Republic in the Semis.
With all the wild action of the Round of 16, expect this round to be a little tamer, as many of the weaker traditional powers have been sent home. It’s mildly unfortunate we have to see Italy vs Belgium so early in this knockout stage, as I view them to be the current top teams remaining (and there shouldn’t be much debate about it, honestly).
With how good they’ve both been, we aren’t touching that one with a ten-foot pole. However, we will be making a few picks on the rest of the slate, with a good mix of longshot bets and parlays.
Picks we like for the Euro Championship Quarterfinal
Spain and England to advance -182
The Swiss are riding high following their big upset over the French. However, we’ve seen this plenty of times before. It’s rare that an inferior squad pulls off more than one major upset in a big tournament and when those underdogs do advance, it’s usually because they run into another Cinderella along the way.
For Switzerland, they showed a lot of competence moving the ball directly through the middle and utilizing the wings in the final third as the defense collapsed on center. It was aggressive and surprisingly effective. Normally, that’s the kind of play we’d see in a video game, but it worked.
The question I have is, “will the Swiss keep that intensity and aggressive style when they face Spain?” I don’t think they will. I can see this game going a few different ways, but it takes an organized and balanced attack to break down the Swiss defenders and that’s what Spain has. I expect a 2-1 Spain victory.
For England, they did everything they needed to do in knocking out Germany. We felt good about them last week and this performance only further reinforced our confidence. Ukraine is down a few starters, so they are really going to struggle to keep up with England. I expect a firm English victory, 3-0 or 2-0.
Czech Republic vs Denmark tie (after 90 minutes) +225
The Czech Republic looks like a truly solid team right now. Though the Dutch struggled to look even remotely like themselves, much of that can be attributed to the chemistry and execution of the Czechs.
While the Czechs have looked good, they are not quite as talented as the Danes. Still, we’ve seen a lot of games go to extra time and this seems like another candidate. Both these teams can play from behind, so a one-goal deficit wouldn’t seem like a death sentence for either of these teams.
There is some really good value here in going for the tie inside 90 minutes, especially given the nature of the sport.
Top Goal Scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo +110 & Raheem Sterling +500
Currently, Ronaldo leads all scorers with 5 goals, but the Portuguese are out. Raheem Sterling (3 Goals) is tied for 5th alongside Lukkaku and Seferovic, but only Schick (4 goals) is ahead of him from the teams remaining. The question here is, “Does England look like the kind of team who can amass multiple goals in the coming games?” The answer, of course, is yes.
As we stated earlier, England will face Ukraine and then either the Czech Republic or Denmark. Both those teams would be favorable candidates to surrender a few English goals and Sterling is front and center to benefit.
If you take both Sterling and Ronaldo, you’re essentially saying you don’t think the Czech’s will advance past Saturday and Schick won’t cash-in against the Danes. You’re hedging here by taking both Sterling and Ronaldo, as a winning bet for Ronaldo will net you +10 and a winning bet for Sterling nets you +400.
Of course, there’s always a chance one of Italy or Spain’s players could catch Ronaldo, but the scoring for Spain and Italy seem much more random, given their tactical approaches to scoring.
Italy to be awarded a penalty +450
Italy isn’t necessarily one of the teams known for diving, but they are one of the teams who both possess the ball heavily and take plenty of shots. In addition to the volume of shooting, the way by which the Italians move the ball in and around the box presents them plenty of opportunities to get tripped, shouldered, or straight-up fouled in the box.
All that heavy volume should play a big part in this prop. I love their opportunity here to get awarded a penalty.
Spain to be awarded a penalty +300
The Spanish are indeed one of the teams people tend to associate with diving. A deeper look tells more of the story, though. Spain, like Italy, values heavy possession and moving the ball in and around the box to find the best shot.
With all the crossing, lay-offs, and creativity the Spanish offer offensively, they also should be strong candidates to be awarded a penalty.