Three event games yesterday and it started with the Republic of Ireland being well beaten by Belgium.
Iceland scored a controversial penalty but then conceded a late own goal to draw 1-1 with Hungary, which sends the Magyars through to the next round. The final match of the night saw Austria hold Portugal in fortuitous fashion.
It was a head scratcher trying to preview it and it was similar watching it. Cristiano Ronaldo won a penalty late on, only to hit the post. The Real Madrid superstar then had a goal correctly chalked off for offside, so a frustrating night for him.Embed from Getty Images
Those three matches took our profit to +8.25 following three more winners at EVS, 4/7 & the 11/2 correct score.
Today sees just two matches, which will be played simultaneously so no collusion or dodgy results occur.
France v Switzerland
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Damir Skomina, (SVN)
France require a draw to the top table whilst Switzerland need a point to seal second spot – surely nothing suspicious is going to happen here.
The French got out of jail a little in their last game when scoring two goals in stoppage time through Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet.Embed from Getty Images
Die Nati have a win and a draw from their two matches. A 1-0 winner against Albania where they hung on despite playing ten men then a 1-1 draw with Romania after going a goal behind from a slightly soft penalty.
The question for me surrounding this game, in particular how it will go is based on the team selected by Didier Deschamps. Now they only require a point will he make wholesale changes to give others an opportunity to stake a claim or just stick to what has got them over the line in the two games so far.
Switzerland have netted in both games so far through Fabian Schär and Admir Mehmedi. They will offer some attacking threat to this game and are the side in this group most likely to pose the host nation a serious test.
The Swiss have never won a competitive game against France and when they met at the last World Cup this opposition brushed them aside. France were 5-0 up but two late goals gave the scoreline a bit of respectability – 5-2.
There was a goalless draw in the 2006 World Cup in Germany but in Euro 2004 France were victors once more by a 3-1 scoreline with goals from Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry (x2).
Regarding the yellow card situation then Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kante both are walking that fine line. A caution in this game and they will be out of the Last 16 match, so if they are taken out of the firing line then that’ll be the reason, which means we could see Griezmann through the middle and that could lead to goals.
For Switzerland Schär, Valon Behrami, Breel Embolo and Granit Xhaka are in the same situation.Embed from Getty Images
But the referee for this match Damir Skomina isn’t usually one to dish out plenty of cards. In his first assignment at this tournament he showed just the one card in the match between Russia and Slovakia.
With this referee the cards markets don’t appeal and neither do the corners looking at their previous games.
Somehow Les Blues have found the net twice in both of their group games and I believe they will be able to do the same here.
Late goals have been frequent in this tournament so far and three of France’s four have come in the last few minutes. William Hill have France to score from the 76th minute to full time at 2/1 and that might tempt a few punts.
France to score 2+ goals – 11/8
Griezmann to score & France to win – 7/2 (0.5pt)
Albania v Romania
Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Pavel Kralovec, (CZE)
Romania sit in third after their 1-1 draw with Switzerland. A win here would secure that spot but if Switzerland lose to France then they could steal second on goal difference.
Meanwhile Albania require a miracle to take third spot considering if they are level on points it goes down to goal difference then goals scored. They are bottom after losing both games to nil.
The Tricolorii have looked the better team but they’ve failed to score in open play. Bogdan Stancu has scored both of their goals and have both been from the spot.Embed from Getty Images
The Eagles tried to keep France out for as long as possibly and did a good enough job for 89 minutes until succumbing to two late goals. Against Switzerland they were down to 10 men but put in a spirited performance that nearly resulted in them getting a point.
Team news ahead of this game is as follows:
Romania have doubts over Razvan Rat, Steliano Filip and Mihai Pintilii coming into this one whilst Albania are without Burim Kukeli, who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the opening two matches.
These two met in qualifying for Euro 2008 and 2012. Romania are undefeated in those four matches. For the 2008 campaign they won 2-0 and 6-1 whilst the two matches in 2012 qualification were both 1-1 and a goalscorer in one of those fixtures was Stancu.
Pavel Kralovec is the man with the whistle and he brandished five yellow cards during his opening match between Northern Ireland and Ukraine.Embed from Getty Images
Albania have collected six yellows and a red so far whilst the Swiss have picked up four along the way. With those kind of stats you have to think cards are the way to go in this fixture.
Overall I’m expecting a tight first half but a match that Romania will find a way of winning, so a half stake bet is of interest but the cards market makes most appeal in what is a difficult game to try and grasp.
Total Match Cards 4-6 – 23/20
Half Time/Full Time: Draw/Romania – 4/1 (0.5pt)