With Euro 2012 fast approaching we take a look at Group C and the quality teams within it who should ensure goals aplenty…
Italy: 4.50 to win the group; 1.62 to reach the last 16; and 16.00 to win the tournament.
The workmanlike Italians will be hoping to muster some pride after their dismal campaign at the last World Cup, when, as defending champions, they were humiliated as they crashed out at the group stages. Current boss Cesare Prandelli is deliberating over whether to risk Man City outcast Mario Balotelli, who can be backed at 20.00, but the maverick only has a solitary international goal. Genoa’s Alberto Gilardino is at 75.00, but is unlikely to start for the Azzuri. That privilege will most likely fall to Inter Milan’s Giampaolo Pazzini, who’s priced at a rather tight 20.00.
Croatia: 7.50 to win the group; 2.40 to reach the last 16; and 50.00 to win the tournament.
Croatia are in transition under the stewardship of Slaven Bilic, but they should still offer plenty of enterprise in Poland and Ukraine thanks mainly to Tottenham’s midfield maestros Luka Modric and Niko Krancjar. Up front, Arsenal reject Eduardo will be hoping to further embellish his fine international scoring record 22 goals in 44 games. Coming off the back of a frustrating season for Shakhtar Donetsk, the potent forward might just enjoy a new lease of life this summer – his Golden Boot price is a generous 100.00. Bayern Munich’s bit-part striker, Ivica Olic will partner Eduardo. His endeavour and industry is second to none, but his haul of just 15 goals from his 76 caps tells its own story. Back him at 75.00, if you’re feeling very lucky.
Spain: 1.50 to win the group; 1.10 to reach the last 16; and 3.70 to win the tournament.
Tournament favourites Spain will be hoping one of their other strikers is ready to step into the breach after potent finisher David Villa was ruled out through injury. The rejuvenated Fernando Torres, who looks to be poor value at 12.00, and his impact on the tournament is now key to the holder’s chances. Backing him up is Andres Iniesta, who is at 100.00 in the Euro 2012 betting market, may have only scored 11 goals so far for his country, but he does tend to save them for the big occasion.
Republic of Ireland: 18.00 to win the group; 5.00 to reach the last 16; and 100.00 to win the tournament.
Group outsiders Ireland might have fancied themselves to progress to the last 16 in any other group, and although the other three sides here are all blessed with more sumptuous resources, the luck and spirit of the Irish could yet see Giovanni Trappatoni’s troops through. Kevin Doyle is priced at long odds of 200.00, but most likely to spearhead a giant-killing spurt for Ireland is their captain and all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane, who’s also at 200.00, but has notched 53 goals in 115 in the green jersey.