It happens every major tournament. A big-gun underperforms and crashes out at the group stage, resulting in a very different look to the knock-out stages – either opening up a path for an underdog or pitting two fellow hard-hitting teams together.
Italy, the second favourites in 1996, were surprisingly beaten by Czech Republic in the group stages and went out on goal difference whilst World Cup runners-up from 2006, France, were dumped out early on when one of the favourites for Euro 2008.
Latest England Stage of Elimination Odds (best price quoted)
- Group Stage 6/4 with Paddy Power
- Quarter Finals 4/1 with Bet365
- Semi Finals 4/1 with William Hill
- Runners Up 6/1 with Paddy Power
- Winner 7/1 with Bet365
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Multiple big team exits can happen also, perfectly exampled in the very strange Euro 2004, which was won by 1000/1 outsiders Greece. Spain, Italy and Germany all were sent home packing before the tournament reached the knock-out stages, to the delight of bookmakers and despair of punters.
There is bound to be a favourite or two being sent home early in Poland or Ukraine, but it’s just a matter of finding the ones that look most vulnerable.
The obvious candidate is Roy Hodgson and England to fail to get out of the group stage. Their build up has been farcical and they have an injury list as big as John Terry’s ego. Unfortunately, punters have latched onto this and the 17/10 (Ladbrokes) available is hardly enough to set pulses racing.
A better investment may be backing Holland not to qualify from a group that contains four of the ten highest ranked teams in the world – Germany, Denmark and Portugal.
The Dutch may be very flamboyant going forward but in defence they are woefully short and rarely impressed despite making it through to the World Cup final in South Africa.
Portugal and Denmark are far from pushovers, and you would fancy Holland to struggle to keep a clean sheet in a group of this qualify.
The 13/8 on offer from them not to qualify is very appealing.