The first matches have been played with mostly expected results thus far. Along with those results have been some cracking goals which sets the tone nicely for the remainder of the tournament. It also provides a good platform for some great battles in the next round of matches. Some sides are in a more comfortable position given they have 3 points but those such as Belgium who failed to live up to certain expectations will now have to play catch-up.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 14th June
Russia ($2.3) versus Slovakia ($3.3), Draw ($3.2)
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.54 (80%)
Next Best: Russia Draw No Bet at $1.62
France ($1.2) versus Albania ($13), Draw ($6.5)
The Hosts left it late in their first match against Romania and perhaps some of that can be put down to some nerves as well as a decent performance from Romania. It took a late winner from Payet with stole the show but the win will give them plenty of confidence heading into their 2nd match. A win here will go a long way to securing top spot in their group ahead of their final game against Switzerland. Albania put in a solid performance against Switzerland to lose just 1-0 considering they were a man down but I don’t expect them to be able to cause an upset here. France should be too strong and will be in a good mood after that first up win against Romania. Expect a strong performance from France as they start to step things up.
Predicted score: France 3-0
Best Bet: France -1 Handicap at $1.67 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.78
England ($1.57) versus Wales ($6.5), Draw ($3.8)
The English are on the back foot after that 1-1 draw to Russia and now face a tricky contest with Wales who will be feeling good after beating Slovakia. The usual suspect that is Gareth Bale opened the scoring for the Welsh and will again gather plenty of attention in this one. It won’t be something that Bale will be shy of though, he’ll be well up for it which could be dangerous for England. It probably comes down to how England approach this. They’ll be a little down after that late equaliser from Russia but they should be able to get something from this one. It’ll be interesting to see if Hodgson makes any changes to the starting line-up with Vardy the likeliest to get a chance. England had 16 shots on goal against Russia but failed to make the most of them. They’ll have their chances against Wales too and should take them. Bale could keep Wales in it but England may sneak through for 3 points here.
Predicted score: England 2-1
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2.1 (75%)
Next Best: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $1.91
Romania ($3.25) versus Switzerland ($2.3), Draw ($3.25)
Predicted score: Switzerland 1-0
Best Bet: Switzerland to win either half at $1.76 (80%)
Next Best: Switzerland Draw No Bet at $1.61
Germany ($1.57) versus Poland ($6), Draw ($4.2)
Germany look in a solid position ahead of their 2nd match against Poland having won fairly comfortably 2-0 over Ukraine. The Germans were dominant in possession and dominant in terms of shots on goal in their first match and we should be able to expect the same against Poland. The Polish won their first match against Northern Ireland with a similar set of statistics but this will more likely be about damage mitigation than about causing an upset. It’s not to say Poland won’t play competitively but more so that Germany should be too strong. In the end it may end similarly to their qualification match back in 2014 when Germany won 3-1. The Germans dominated possession and made the most of their chances (8 shots on target). Poland had their chances in that match with 8 shots on target as well and will no doubt have their chances here as well. It’s just a matter of whether they can take them before Germany take control.
Predicted score: Germany 2-1
Best Bet: Germany to win at $1.57 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.75
Italy ($1.83) versus Sweden ($5), Draw ($3.4)
A win here for Italy will see them through to the next stage after Sweden managed a draw with Ireland in their first match. Defensively Italy were very strong against Belgium who failed to live up to expectations and a 2-0 win gives Italy a great foundation for the rest of the tournament. Whilst I have some reservations about just how far Italy could go, they should win this won even if it is by the narrowest of margins. Sweden have a superstar that is Ibrahimovic, but with Italy heavily focused on defence it might just be a little tough to break them down.
Predicted score: Italy 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.51 (90%)
Next Best: Italy to win at $1.83
Ukraine ($1.57) versus N.Ireland ($7), Draw ($3.8)
Predicted score: Ukraine 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.56 (85%)
Next Best: Ukraine to win at $1.57