Betting Week in Review: Scotland & Wales Fall in the Euros
It’s been a bad seven days for two of the three Home Nations in the Euros. Scotland failed to get out of the group stage, losing 3-1 in a must-win clash with Croatia. Wales qualified from their group but were soundly beaten in the Round-of-16 clash with Denmark. England is the only team remaining, but face a tough game against Germany tomorrow evening.
Scots Fall at Final Hurdle
In Scotland’s last match in Group D, the permutations were simple for the Scots. Win, and they would qualify for the knock-out stages for the first time in their history. Anything less, and their European adventure would be over.
Although not favourites against Croatia, the bookies felt Scotland had a good chance to progress, pricing them @ 173/100. Croatia’s price before kickoff was 143/100, with a draw seen as the least likely outcome @199/100.
Scotland’s low price largely down to a spirited performance against neighbours England, who they held to a 0-0 draw at Wembley in the previous game.
The optimism going into this game was almost at fever-pitch, with the Tartan Army believing that this was their chance to make an impact on the big stage.
However, Croatia muted the home crowd at the national stadium in Glasgow just after the quarter of an hour mark. Nikola Vlasic putting the World Cup finalists ahead after 17 minutes.
Hampden erupted into life shortly before the break when Callum McGregor scored Scotland’s first goal of the tournament and his country’s first goal in the Euros since Ally McCoist scored against Switzerland in June 1996.
It was a goal that saw the end of a remarkable run that had seen the Scots take 46 shots without scoring.
Unfortunately for Scotland, the break came just at the right time for Croatia, and the 14th ranked team regained the lead thanks to an excellent first-time shot by Luka Modric. The 35-year-old’s goal was the first at the tournament for the Real Madrid man in his third game just after the hour mark.
Ivan Perisic doubled Croatia’s lead on 77 minutes. The Inter Milan player glanced in a header from a corner to give them a first-ever win against the Scots.
The 3-1 defeat was tough to take for Scotland, especially when you consider that Billy Gilmore, the best player on the park against England, had to sit out this game after testing positive for Covid-19. The Chelsea player could have made a difference in this clash. Although Scotland is likely to reflect that it was poor finishing cost them a place in the knock-out round. Che Adams went close on a few occasions, and John McGinn showed flashes of brilliance.
Welsh Hopes Dashed By Deadly Danes
Although priced @ 181/50 underdogs, there was genuine belief that Wales could beat Denmark, who was priced @ 101/100.
Denmark had lost their first two games and only picked up points against Russia on matchday 3. Although it must be said this victory was impressive, the Danes scoring three second-half goals in a 4-1 win.
Wales came second in Group A, a narrow 1-0 loss to Italy, their only defeat in their matches. A 1-1 draw with Switzerland and a 2-0 win against Turkey was the others.
Wales also had the form for getting through knock-out stages.
In Euro 2016, the Welsh reached the semi-final, knocking out Northern Ireland in the Round-of-16 and Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team, in the quarter-finals. It took the eventual winners Portugal fifty minutes to break Wales down in that game, Christiano Ronaldo the scorer. Another former Manchester United player, Nani, secured the win three minutes later.
Wales started the game the better of the sides. Captain Gareth Bale looked dangerous on the wing and wasn’t afraid to take on shots. He also showed his worth as a provider, almost feeding Kieffer Moore in on a few occasions. However, with a quarter of the game played, it was Denmark that looked the more dangerous side and took the lead on 27 minutes, thanks to a brilliant goal by Kasper Dolberg. The Nice man hitting a curling effort from the edge of the area.
The Welsh were unhappy with the awarding of the goal, with Moore aggrieved that a foul by Simon Kjaer on him wasn’t given.
Despite Denmark’s dominance, Wales still had a chance at the break with the score 1-0, but they were totally demolished in the second half, conceding three goals and lost 4-0.
Dolberg doubled his and his team’s tally three minutes after the interval, taking advantage of an error by Neco Williams to score from close in. Wales offered little, and Denmark sealed the victory with a Joakim Maehlegoal after 88.
The drama didn’t end there. Harry Wilson was shown Wales’ second red card in two games on 90 minutes, and four minutes later, Martin Braithwaite added to the misery by scoring Denmark’s fourth.
Although they will be full of regrets, Wales can hardly argue with the result.
Denmark enjoyed the majority of possession and won 60.8% of the duels with the ball on the ground. The Danes also won 60.5% of the aerial duels and had nine corners compared to just one from Wales. Although Wales had eleven shots on goal, just one was on target.
Eight of Denmark’s sixteen, 50% rate compared to 9.1% for the Welsh.
British Hopes Rest on Three Lions
With Scotland and Wales now out of the competition, British hopes now rest on England, although we suspect you won’t find many Scotland or Wales’ fans or players cheering the Three Lions on.
England takes on historic rivals Germany at Wembley tomorrow, a game which is likely to be highly profitable for bookmakers. Not surprisingly, England games attract the largest volume of bets for bookmakers, with plenty of bets, just like the Grand National, placed with the heart rather than the head.
England goes into the match with Germany in the strange situation as being favourites. Pricing of 6/4, puts below Germany’s 19/10. The draw looks likely, according to bookmakers @ 9/4.
Although not scoring so far in the tournament, Harry Kane is the bookmakers favourite to open the scoring @ 4/1 and 11/8 to score anytime.
Serge Gnaby is Germany’s main threat according to operators @ 13/2. The Chelsea duo of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are close behind on 7/1 and 15/2.
England v Germany kicks off at 17:00 on Tuesday 29 June. Coverage of the game is available on BBC One.