England’s Euro 2020 Odds Boosted By Wembley Scheduling
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Much to the regret of many, England’s plans for a second successive summer of flying lager and plastic glasses were cut short this year.
The outlandish and very unfamiliar idea that the national team might actually win a trophy came to a quick and abrupt end with a 3-1 defeat by Holland in the semi-final of the new Nations League competition.
Normal service was resumed. Success remained just out of reach and not for the first time. The wild celebrations which filled the city streets with airborne beer during 2018’s run to the World Cup’s last four never got going.
Sunderland fans react to England's early goal against Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. It's fair to say they're pretty chuffed! pic.twitter.com/5bSrO4Jpyk— ITV News Tyne Tees (@itvtynetees) July 11, 2018
Much to the hopeful anticipation of licensed premises and mobile fan-park and box-park booze vendors, however, a third consecutive opportunity for everyone to get deliriously soaked is rumbling into view.
As qualification resumes this weekend with ties against Bulgaria and Kosovo, Gareth Southgate’s team are second favourites to win Euro 2020 – and the party could be even more boisterous because the semi-finals and final take place in London at Wembley next year.
World Cup holders France are favourites.
Euro 2020 Outright Odds
But Football really is Coming Home, 24 years after the hit song of that title raucously accompanied the progress of Terry Venables and Co’s memorable run to the semi-finals of Euro 96.
Although England are widely priced second to win the Henri Delaunay Trophy – 9/2 (+450) with Bet 365, William Hill and Betfair and 5/1 (+500) with Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Coral – there is the possibility that they could play as many as five games at Wembley if they reach the final.
They will play at least two group stage games at the stadium – with one more at Hampden Park if Scotland reach the finals or that game at Wembley as well if the Tartan Army miss out.
This will surely boost English chances of claiming the silverware in a tournament which, in its latest formatted guise, will be staged across 12 European cities.
It would also be conducive to re-creating the fervent atmosphere which took over the nation during Euro 96, which would surely aid the chances of Gareth Southgate’s team as well.
If the Scots make it, there may be a re-run of the famous clash with England at Euro 96 which was lit up by Paul Gascoigne’s sensational goal. The finals draw would decide if it was in London or Glasgow.
Where Could England Play?
A last-16 game would take place either in Dublin or Copenhagen, depending on whether England won or finished second at the group stage. In the unlikely event that they were third in the group, they could head to Bilbao, Glasgow or Budapest.
The quarter-finals are in St. Petersburg, Baku, Munich and Rome.
Scotland are priced at 500/1 (+50000) to win Qualifying Group I which includes Belgium and Russia – both of whom Scotland play during the coming days.
But Steve Clarke’s side have the safety net of a place in the qualifying play-offs because they won their group in the Nations League last year.
As coach, Southgate has already changed the mood surrounding the England team – which hit rock bottom after the humiliating Euro 2016 exit against Iceland.
They are young, vibrant and half-decent. They have won their opening two Euro 2020 Qualifying Group A, 5-0 win at home against the Czechs and 5-1 in Montenegro.
They are 1/14 (-1400) to beat Bulgaria on Friday and a widespread 1/50 (-5000) to win the group. So there is no doubt they will be in the finals, which they last missed in 2008.
With a following wind created by a tournament atmosphere at home, they could quite feasibly usurp the French even though they are clearly a better team with better players and the experience of winning last year’s World Cup.
French Aiming For Double Glory
The French are 7/2 (+350) to win the tournament across the board. What is more, the current line-up of men like Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are seeking to rec-reate history by adding a subsequent European Championship triumph to last year’s World Cup success in Moscow.
The current manager, Didier Deschamps, was captain of the team which won Euro 2000 in Rotterdam two years after France’s World Cup win in Paris of 1998.
They were the first nation to perform this feat, although Spain subsequently, went one better by winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
📊 Who are you backing to win #Euro2020? 🗳️— Bookies UK (@bookies_uk) September 3, 2019
It was Germany who famously thwarted England at Euro 96 by winning a penalty shoot-out in the last four.
Although they went on to win the final against the Czech Republic and add to their reputation as serial winners, sportsbook traders don’t actually fancy them very much this time around – even though the final will be back at the scene of those famous wins.
They haven’t won the Euros since and are priced a widespread fifth at 8/1 (+800) with BetVictor, Betfred, Betway and 888Sport.
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Spain and Belgium Odds
Belgium – the other beaten World Cup semi-finalists – are priced third at 6/1 (+600) with Betfair and Ladbrokes and 7/1 (+700) with PaddyPower and Unibet.
No surprise, really, with a squad which includes Eden Hazard, Levin De Bruyne and Romelu Lokaku.
Spain are also 6/1 (+600) with Coral and Ladbrokes and 7/1 (+700) with Bet365 and Betfair.
The changes to the final stages made by UEFA were at first unpopular.
There were complaints that the unique atmosphere of tournament football will be ruined by rolling the matches out across 12 venues.
The host cities are; Rome, Baku, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, London, Glasgow, Bilbao, Dublin, Munich and Budapest.
However, Euro 2024 in Germany will revert to the single host nation format.
Seven games in total will take place at Wembley after Brussels was forced to pull out, hence the opportunity for England to potentially play five times there and give their hopes of glory a huge lift.
Sir Alf Ramey’s 1966 World Cup winning team played all six matches at Wembley. It will be 56 years since then by next summer's tournament. Time enough, surely, for that kind of omen to work its magic again?