Betting Week in Review: England Lose on Penalties Again
In the Euros, it was a case of so near so far as England lose in the finals on penalties to Italy. England’s Pickford saved two penalties, but it wasn’t enough for the Three Lions to win their first European crown.
Thee Lions Suffer Penalty Heartache Again
England’s dreams of winning their first major tournament in fifty-five years are over after losing a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 finals against Italy. A good result for bookmakers after the game finished 1-1 in normal time.
England is always heavily backed, and the fact they reached the final was excellent news for bookmakers. Pre-match, England was favourites at 153/100, Italy was priced at 49/20 and the draw just shy of 2/1 at 193/100.
The game got off to a dream start from an English perspective. Luke Shaw continuing his great form by scoring the fastest ever goal in a European final with barely two minutes on the clock. The left-back scoring with a half-volley that Harry Kane would have been proud of.
Predictably, just as Denmark did against English, the Italians grew into the game and deserved the equaliser scored in the 67th minute. Leonardo Bonucci tapped in after a goal-line scramble and, at 34 years old went into the history books as the oldest scorer at a European final.
With no more goals in the game, the match went to penalties after extra time.
England’s Jordan Pickford saved two of the Italian’s penalties; however, Marcus Rashford hit the post with his effort, and Gianluigi Donnarumma saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka to give Italy the win at Wembley.
The Luck of the Italians?
To win a tournament, luck comes into play, and it’s fair to say that Italy rode theirs during the Euros. Although they steamrolled through the group games with a 100% record (0-3 Turkey, 3-0 Switzerland, 1-0 Wales), They laboured to a win over Switzerland in the first knock-out round. In that game, they needed extra time to overcome Austria 2-1. Italy was priced at 29/50, with Austria priced as high as 7/1 for a win.
They justified the bookmaker’s odds of 34/25 favourites in their 2-1 win against world number one ranked team Belgium. Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne scoring in the first half before A Romelu Lukaku penalty on the stroke of halftime made things interesting. Italy had 54% of the possession, an 88% pass accuracy and controlled the game well.
In the semi-finals, they had the opportunity to practice penalties. Federico Chisa had given the Italians a lead in the 60th minute, but the score was tied at 1-1 thanks to an Alvaro Morata goal with ten minutes left on the clock. The headlines belonged to Jorginho in that one, his cheeky penalty winning that game. It was a controlled performance from Italy, having seven shots compared to Spain’s sixteen.
Although it was a painful defeat, there are plenty of positives for England.
No international manager has been as consistent as Southgate, with England reaching the latter stages of all major competitions they have been in. England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and the finals of the European Championship in three years.
Southgate says he is “keen” to sign a new deal, despite the defeat. Saying: “As I sit here today, I would want to be taking the team to Qatar,”
“We of course have to qualify for Qatar. I need some time to watch last night’s game again, to reflect on the tournament.
“I need a rest. It’s an amazing experience to lead your country in these tournaments, but it takes its toll.”
Due to the delayed Euros, football fans do not have long to wait until the next major tournament. The draw for the World Cup finals is due to take place in April 2022. Group stages of Qatar 2022 start in November 2022, with the final taking place a week before Christmas on December 18th.
Euro 2020 Profitable For Operators
For bookmakers, it has been a great Euro 2020 for several reasons. Firstly, a major football tournament boosts revenues, and the unpredictable nature of this competition has been an unexpected bonus; they have also avoided some big payouts;
Before Harry Kane scored in the Germany game, he was available at 100/1 to claim the Golden Boot. However, his failure score in the final meant Cristiano Ronaldo’s five was enough for him to claim it. He was available at a more manageable 14/1 pre-tournament.
Another boost for operators was Gianluigi Donnarumma being named player of the tournament. The Italian former AC Milan goalkeeper is now a free agent and didn’t even appear on many bookmakers lists for betting. Ronaldo, not surprisingly, was heavily backed to pick up this award, as was England’s Harry Kane.
Some punters have already turned their attention to betting on the next World Cup. France are the early favourites at 6/1. Italy had been 16/1 to win the World Cup; this price has now shortened to 10/1. England is also priced at 10/1 to win the World Cup.