The second day of the European Championships is when we are in for the packed days of football. Three games per day for the next week for us to get our betting teeth stuck into.
The opening match didn’t disappoint and it took a late wonder strike from Dimitri Payet to seal a French win and to land the 3/1 HT/FT result bet. For P/L purposes the advised bets are worth a point unless stated. P/L: +2.00.
Albania v Switzerland
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
Kick Off: 14:00
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Switzerland finished second behind England in Group E, so all of us have seen how they play and on paper do have a talented squad.
Vladimir Petkovic’s men managed to score 24 goals in the group, 11 of which came against the whipping boys San Marino. They did only concede 8 managing to keep clean sheets in 50% of their ten matches.
Albania are the lowest ranked side to have reached Euro 2016. They also came second in their group behind Portugal and were involved in one of the more unsavoury matches in that campaign. That came when they travelled to Serbia and were awarded the win following home fans invading the pitch due to a drone.
Their campaign started with a surprise win away to Portugal and they were able to keep that momentum going along the way. Goalscoring was something that was patchy in all honesty. It goes down in the record books as ten goals scored however their awarded match away at Serbia went down as a 3-0 win.
On the back of their respective qualifying campaigns Switzerland look good for a goal or two despite not having a stand out player in the normal number 10 role while Albania will be looking to contain sides and keeping clean sheets.
In their first major tournament the Eagles are the outsiders of the lot and in this group you have to expect them to struggle against some experienced sides. Gianni De Biasi will be more focused on keeping it tight than expansive football.
You have to expect Die Nati to get off to a good start and earning the three points despite their reliance Stoke players Xherdan Shaqiri to feature heavily. It will be his contributions that see the Swiss do well but the fact his Premier League debut season was hit and miss due to a thigh problem would have to be a big worry.
Despite Petkovic not calling up Gokhan Inler and striker Josip Drmic they still have a side with experience and talent. It’ll be interesting to see how the Croatian-Bosnian coach sets this side up considering their poor performances in friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Bosnia.
These two sides have both met twice previously with the Swiss winning both. The two scorelines were 2-0 and 2-1, so Die Nati to score two or more goals is worth a look. On paper this is the perfect chance for them to get off to a good start.
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo is a name that will be familiar to English football fans following his assignments in the top European club competitions of late. One thing that we can say about him is that he isn’t afraid of showing a card (or five).
In his last 20 matches the Spaniard has shown 115 yellow cards, an average of 5.75 per game, and he has sent of eight players in that time. He is a fairly experienced official and took charge of the opening match at Euro 2012 where he only issues two yellows but gave two players their marching orders.
Considering it is likely that Switzerland will dominate the ball and be more attacking, which can see a few cards for the Albanians on the totting up process and the odd cynical foul.
Switzerland to score 2+ goals – 27/20
Albania Most Booking Points – 8/13
Wales v Slovakia
Venue: Stade Matmut-Atlantique, Bordeaux
Kick Off: 17:00
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
Chris Coleman has certainly built on the foundations put in place by the late Gary Speed after securing their place at the Euro’s finishing second behind Belgium. This will be the first major tournament for the Welsh since featuring in the 1958 World Cup.
Their qualifying got off to a nightmare start against minnows Andorra after falling behind early on but in stepped the most expensive forward in the world Gareth Bale to make sure it wasn’t the nightmare start.
Just one defeat in their ten games coming in the hostile Bosnia is a good record considering they went two games unbeaten against the fancied Belgians for this tournament. One concern would be their goal scoring after only netting 11 times and their over reliance on Bale.
A Slovakian side that failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup didn’t dwell on that and got off to a flying start in their search for a place in France. Jan Kozak’s men won their first six fixtures, including a 2-1 win against defending European champions Spain.
With an emphasis on counter attacking football with pacey wingers Vladimir Weiss and Robert Mak feeding Marek Hamsik then The Repre look like a dangerous side.
They scored 17 times and conceded eight in qualifying, so you have to consider goals in games involving the Slovaks despite Kozak only selecting two strikers in his 23-man squad.
The more I look at this fixture the more I see it being a 1-1 draw. Slovakia had shown plenty of positives in their friendlies up until the goalless draw with Latvia whilst the Welsh, without Bale, pushed Netherlands all the way in a game where they must have taken plenty of positives.
These sides haven’t meet since qualifying back in 2006 and 2007 where both sides won one game each. The victors in those matches scored five goals – Wales won 5-2 and Slovakia won 5-1 in Wales.
The Dragons are ranked higher than their opponents but they are the polar opposite in terms of goals. Wales tend to be unders with Slovakia overs. For The Repre that was highlighted in their first major tournament at the 2010 World Cup when they beat Italy 3-2.
Svein Oddvar Moen is the whistler for the opening game of Group B. The Norwegian tends to be on of the more lenient officials and has a low card make-up.
In this officials last 20 matches he has only shown 43 yellow cards and dismissed just two players. Slovakia earned just one more yellow in qualifying with 22 cautions to Wales 21.
With the tendencies of this official you have to say this game looks unlikely to have a high percentage of cards, despite the involvement of Martin Skrtel. Under 4 match cards makes some appeal.
Both Teams to Score – 11/8
Under 4 Match Cards – 5/4
England v Russia
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
An England side that maintained a perfect record throughout their ten match qualifying stint. There were no real problems along the way but the main concern going into the tournament is Roy Hodgson’s team selection.
The goals flowed, as you’d expect when playing the likes of San Marino, Lithuania and Estonia. In the process they netted 31 times and only did concede three goals – all against Slovenia with one being an own goal.
Russia had a nightmare start to their qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello but they soon paid the Italian off and brought in CSKA Moscow manager Leonid Slutsky to oversee the national side.
Under Slutsky The Sbornaya won their final four qualifiers scoring 12 goals in the process. The squad has been built around talisman Artem Dzyuba and they would be a threat but without playmaker Alan Dzagoev, who sustained an injury in the final game of the season, they look a weaker outfit.
The Russian squad is one of the more experienced at the tournament and those ageing legs are likely to get caught out against the trio of teams in this group considering all their rivals have players with pace that are good on the counter attack.
England’s record at major tournament is pretty horrendous but you can’t help getting excited about this squad.
The Three Lions have only won one of their last six opening matches at major tournaments, including World Cups. That came in a 1-0 success over Paraguay in the 2006 World Cup.
My head was telling me 0-0 prior to looking at that stat and it’s something worth considering on the basis of drawing three opening matches.
Russia are ranked joint 27th with Poland and games that they feature in are usually tight encounters. They have netted in each of their last ten matches and the more you consider that record then you have doubts over the England defence nullifying the threat of Dzuyba and Aleksandr Kokorin.
With England’s defence you can imagine Russia beating Joe Hart. With a similar train of thought then England goals should be flowing considering the players we can call on, especially Harry Kane. If Hodgson gets the team selection right, which I doubt, then we could do well.
There have been two previous meetings between these nations and both were back in 2007. England won the home qualifier 3-0 but fell to defeat in Moscow after taking the lead.
Nicola Rizzoli is a no fuss referee but this is a game that should suit his style considering both of these sides collected few cards in qualifying. On paper this looks like a quiet night for the Italian. Under 35 booking points is just a shade under evens and that is something that does interest me.
Corners could be the way to go. Both sides in qualifying averaged high at 9.6 corners per game. In their last six friendlies Russia have averaged out at 7 per match to England’s 8.7.
Counter attacking football and the way the Three Lions play then you expect a high average during competitive matches. With Russia likely to utilise all 6’5” of Dzuyba then they could look to win corners, as a place to threaten the England defence.
Both Teams to Score: 7/5
Over 9.5 Corners: 9/10