Portugal is ridiculously short in match betting on its UEFA Euro 2016 last-16 game against Croatia in Lens on Saturday and it is all because of the Cristiano Ronaldo factor.
Ronaldo is the world’s second best footballer behind Lionel Messi and his list of honours include three UEFA Champions League titles, three English Premier League titles and one Spanish Primera Divison title. Ronaldo has enjoyed great success at club level but, apart from taking part in the UEFA Euro 2004 final, he has not much joy playing in the colours of Portugal. That is because Ronaldo does not have many world-class national side colleagues and his body language playing for Portugal is usually appalling.
Football is a team sport but Ronaldo is selfish and it means that rarely does Portugal produce an impressive all-round performance. Portugal was seeded first in the weakest UEFA Euro 2016 section but Ronaldo and company could only finish third behind Hungary and Iceland, failing to win any of its three Group F matches. Ronaldo was afforded hero status for scoring twice in Portugal’s 3-3 UEFA Euro 2016 Group F draw versus Hungary but let us cut to the chase – the tournament kicked off with the Hungarians as one of the sides that was making up the numbers and, even though they won the pool, they would not have made the competition favourites quake in their boots with the manner in which they topped the group.
Thirty-six games into UEFA Euro 2016 and Croatia has been the team that has caught one’s idea. Croatia was excellent value for more than its 1-0 UEFA Euro 2016 Group D victory over Turkey, it should have spanked the Czech Republic in its second match but somehow ended up drawing 2-2 and it struck late on to beat Spain 2-1 in its third game. UEFA Euro 2016’s knockout phase draw has opened up for Croatia and bookmakers are betting on its last-16 tie as though Portugal is a good side – it is far from one of those.
BetVictor is offering odds of +170 about Croatia beating Portugal in normal time of their UEFA Euro 2016 last-16 match, with the relatively small difference in the odds available about the teams being based on reputations. Croatia is several notches superior to Portugal and one thinks that the Croatians should be trading at odds of around +110 to defeat the Portuguese in 90 minutes.
UEFA Euro 2016’s second Battle of Britain is Wales against Northern Ireland in what one expects will be a low-scoring game between a couple of sides that cannot believe their luck. Wales won UEFA Euro 2016 Group B by default because England coach Roy Hodgson made an inexplicable decision to rest more than half of his regular starters in the final round of matches and now the Welsh find themselves in the soft half of the draw. Northern Ireland qualified as one of UEFA Euro 2016’s four best third-placed team but it would have missed out on goal difference had it not been for the game of a lifetime by its goalkeeper, Michael McGovern, versus Germany – the Northern Irish lost 0-1 but they could not have complained had the Germans run out 10-0 winners.
One believes that Wales merits favouritism over Northern Ireland for the UEFA Euro 2016 last-16 tie with a British flavour but that the Welsh are too short in the betting. One’s idea of the best bet is the negative option in the both sides to score market, which is available at odds of -182 with Marathonbet. Bookmakers are offering lower odds about under two and a half goals, which is fair enough.
Finally, the negative option in the both teams to score market appeals in the UEFA Euro 2016 last-16 game between Poland and Switzerland as well, with Coral‘s odds of -161 being the highest on offer. The bet would have won in five of the six UEFA Euro 2016 matches in which either Poland or Switzerland has featured and the attack of neither side has impressed during the tournament. Poland has been extremely wasteful in front of goal and Switzerland’s UEFA Euro 2016 Group A win came at the expense of a 10-man Albania team.
Croatia to beat Portugal
Saturday 25th June, 20:00 GMT
Wales v Northern Ireland – Both Teams to Score No
Saturday 25th June, 17:00 GMT
Switzerland v Poland – Both Teams to Score No
Saturday 25th June, 14:00 GMT