The UEFA Euro 2016 knockout phase draw has a lopsided look to it and, therefore, one thinks that there is merit in backing Croatia to win the tournament at juicy odds.
Croatia qualified for the UEFA Euro 2016 last 16 by winning Group D ahead of Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. In a competition that has hit few great heights in its bloated group stage, Croatia has staked a strong claim for being UEFA Euro 2016’s most impressive team, with the plaudits coming left, right and centre for its marvellous midfield.
Ante Cacic is yet to taste defeat as Croatia coach. Cacic succeeded Niko Kovac with two rounds of UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying remaining and he led Croatia to back-to-back victories over Bulgaria and Malta that ensured that the Croatians made to the finals. Croatia dropped quite a few soft points during the UEFA Euro 2016 preliminaries but the Croatians did not lose either of their games versus Italy, both matches between the automatic qualifiers ending 1-1.
Croatia was 6-1-0 under Cacic before UEFA Euro 2016 kicked off and anyone who saw its Group D opener against Turkey will know that the 1-0 scoreline was not a fair reflection of the match. Croatia had 17 goal attempts to Turkey’s six and the Croatians hit the woodwork twice in a UEFA Euro 2016 Group D game that Luka Modric won with a 41st-minute wonder goal, an early contender for the goal of the tournament.
Next up for Croatia was the Czech Republic and one still is wondering how on Earth the Croatians failed to collect three UEFA Euro 2016 Group D points. The two Ivans – Perisic and Rakitic – put Croatia two goals up inside an hour that the Croatians had dominated totally – they should have been out of sight. The Czech Republic scored with its first genuine effort on goal and, after a lengthy disruption because of a crowd disturbance, Croatia conceded an unnecessary penalty kick for handball that Tomas Necid converted with glee.
Then Croatia extended its unbeaten record under Cacic to 8-2-0 with a 2-1 UEFA Euro 2016 Group D win over the side that headed the title betting market midway through the group stage, Spain. Winning UEFA Euro 2016 Group D placed Croatia in the top half of the knockout phase draw, away from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Croatia’s UEFA Euro 2016 last-16 opponent will be Portugal and, if the Croatians reach the last eight, they will encounter either Poland or Switzerland.
Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Coral are offering UEFA Euro 2016 odds of +1000 about Croatia and those bookmakers are quoting each-term ways of 1/2 odds 1,2. Backing Croatia each way stands out as the smartest UEFA Euro 2016 futures play going into the knockout phase because one is shocked that the Croatians are not even shorter in the betting.
Punters who really like to have a speculative wager could have a stab at Betfair’s odds of +1800 about Croatia facing Germany in the UEFA Euro 2016 final. Germany did not concede a goal in winning UEFA Euro 2016 Group D and it should stroll into the last eight by beating Slovakia. Germany strikes one as the side in the bottom half of the UEFA Euro 2016 knockout phase draw with the fewest question marks and, after all, the Germans are the current world champions.
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