Why Portugal are a good bet to win Euro 2020
Looking at the top five teams in the betting for Euro 2020 we see England and France are installed as joint favourites at 5/1, then Belgium at 6/1, followed by Germany and Spain at odds of around 15/2.
Now, if we take a look at each of these teams individually:
- The price on England is only that short because of “weight of money” - English punters will always have a hopeful bet every big tournament, which in turn forces UK betting sites to balance the books by shortening the odds on an England win. As much as we want England to win, we can’t back them to break their Euros duck at such low odds.
- France – Yes, they are World Champions, yes they have a solid team with no obvious weaknesses, but as long as Didier Deschamps is in charge there is always the possibility of a rift between him and the players and a dressing room meltdown (Aymeric Laporte the most recent example). Plus, they are also 5/1 and this price is too short to be of interest to us.
- Belgium’s “Golden generation” have been heavily backed in the last 3 major tournaments and have fallen short every time. With Vincent Kompany now retired and Eden Hazard a shadow of his former self, things won’t be any easier for the Red Devils this time around.
- Nobody really expects Germany to challenge this year. Joachim Low’s team are in the early stages of a re-build and this tournament will come too soon. Being in “Group F - The Group of Death” will not help their cause, nor will relying on Timo Werner for goals.
- Spain are not expected to be serious contenders either. Yes, the draw has been kind matching them with Sweden, Poland and Slovakia, but an ageing squad with a lack of attacking options (Alvaro Morata is first choice striker) doesn’t bode well if they reach the last 16 and beyond.
Remember, when betting on the Euros you can back a team to win the Tournament “each way”, meaning that even if they are runners up you still get paid out as a winner at half the odds, and that leads us onto the team who are next in the betting and who we really want to talk about…Portugal who are currently priced at 9/1.
Head coach Fernando Santos could field an absolute fantasy team if the desire takes him, with Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Renato Sanches and Cristiano Ronaldo all fitting into a starting eleven that also features Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Neves, the list goes on…and we haven’t even mentioned the likes of Andre Silva or Joao Felix yet!
The Reigning Champs
Portugal are of course the current champions after winning Euro 2016 - a result which was widely unexpected. It’s well documented that they did not win a game in 90 minutes in that tournament until the Semi-Finals, and bar the obvious talents of Ronaldo, the squad did not boast any other world-class players. However, they had the resilience to go all the way and win it.
Since then, they have gone on to add the inaugural UEFA Nations League Title in 2018-19 to their list of achievements, and the quality within the squad has improved immensely.
This squad is far superior to the 2016 Championship Winning side
Everyone who watches the Premier League will know how Bruno Fernandes has single-handedly reversed the fortunes of Man Utd, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a focal point to build his team around and mount a challenge in both the League and Europe this season. Ruben Dias is widely regarded as the best defender in the Premier League (certainly in the absence of a fit Virgil van Dijk) and is the rock in both Man City and Portugal’s back lines. Injuries aside, Diogo Jota has been a fine signing for Liverpool, with 9 league goals from 18 appearances (6 as sub) and he has carried this form over to the national team scoring 6 goals in his last 10 appearances.
Renato Sanches may have fallen off the radar after storming onto the international scene at Euro 2016 aged just 18, however his move to Lille has revitalised his career where he has been deployed in every midfield position possible, racking up 58 appearances and 5 goals for a Lille team who are newly crowned champions of France, dethroning the mighty PSG – and Sanches is not the only Portugal star who’s been instrumental at Lille this season, with his compatriot and international team-mate Jose Fonte being an ever-present in the stingiest defence in France.
We could carry on singing the praises of countless other Portugal stars, but you get the picture, this is an extremely good squad that does not really warrant being a bigger price than the likes of Germany, Spain or even England in the betting for Euro 2020.
Surviving Group F - The Group of Death
The main reason Portugal are so generously priced is they had the misfortune to be drawn in the toughest group along with France, Germany and Hungary. If that wasn’t bad enough the unusual format for this year’s tournament means that their game with Germany is in Munich and their match with Hungary is in Budapest, so both are basically away ties and will be played in front of partisan (all be it reduced capacity) crowds. Only their clash with France, in Budapest, will be a truly neutral affair.
However, we don’t think this will phase them. Facing Hungary in their first game is a good chance to get 3 points on the board early – it will take more than a home crowd in Budapest to lift a weak Hungary team that finished 4th in their qualifying group and who only made the finals via the playoffs.
After that it’s a trip to Munich to face an unfancied Germany side. Again, we see nothing really to fear here for Santos’s men. The occasion may call for a more pragmatic approach where the likes of William Carvalho and Danilo Pereira could be effective, but if Portugal play their game they can go into the final group clash against France with 6 points already in the bank. At this point, with the top two teams in each group progressing to the last 16, along with the 4 highest ranking third placed sides, it’s safe to say that 6 points would be enough to qualify, so the France game would be of less importance – although topping the group and ensuring an easier route to the final will be the aim.
Once out of the “group of death” there is every reason to believe A Selecao can go all the way to the final, and if they and France finish first and second in their group, in either order, there is every chance they could meet again on the 11th July and set up a repeat of the 2016 Final.
The Ronaldo Factor
We can’t talk about Portugal without mentioning Ronaldo.
At 36 this should be his last Euros and penultimate major tournament before next years World Cup. He recently broke the 100 international goals milestone and currently sits on 103, just six goals shy of Ali Daei’s all-time record of 109, a record Ronaldo will be desperate to break at a major tournament and further strengthen his claim as the GOAT. Portugal have two friendly matches lined up against Spain and Israel before the Euros, where he will surely be looking to get on the score sheet and edge closer to the record, before gunning for the golden boot and the all-time goalscorer record at Euro 2020.
Euro 2020 Betting Tips:
- Portugal to win Euro 2020 (each way 2 places at ½ odds) @ 9/1 bet365
- Winning Group = Group F @ 13/8 William Hill
- Name the Finalists – Portugal/France @ 33/1 bet365
- Top Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo (each way 4 places at ¼ odds) @ 10/1 bet365
- Top Goalscorer – Andre Silva (each way 4 places at ¼ odds) @ 66/1 Betfred
- Winner/Top Goalscorer double – Portugal/Ronaldo @ 40/1 Betfred
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