Euro 2016 betting: Minnows continue to punch above their weight

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Updated: June 22, 2016

Today’s featured Group F betting preview: Iceland v Austria, Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France; Thursday, June 22, 2am

 

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Group F scenarios: Top spot belongs to Italy (6pts) as they hold the head-to-head over Belgium (3pts). The latter need a point against Sweden to secure second place. Sweden (1pt) must beat Belgium to go through, and no other result can send them through. If they win they can finish no lower than third, and four points is guaranteed to be good enough for one of the four best third-placed berths. There is the outside chance that Ireland (1pt) could overtake them on goal difference for second if both win.

Group E scenarios: Hungary (4pts) have qualified as they are guaranteed to be one of the best third-placed teams at a minimum. They need a point against Portugal (2pts) to secure a top-two finish, but must win to guarantee top spot. They will also finish top with a draw if Iceland do not beat Austria (1pt) by at least two goals. Iceland (2pts) need a point to secure a top-three finish, and that would guarantee their place in the round of 16. Portugal must beat Hungary to be certain of progression.

 

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Some have complained that this tournament hasn’t hit any real heights but ask the fans of nations such as Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland and Iceland if it’s lived up to potential. The former pair have qualified for the next round, Northern Ireland are among the sides in the battle for a third-place qualification berth while Iceland’s hopes hinge on their clash with Austria at the Stade de France tonight. Iceland were denied a first win at a major tournament following Birkir Sævarsson’s 87th minute own goal against Hungary.

But the minnows know a win against Austria will take them through to the last 16. It would be a remarkable achievement for a country with a population of just over 330,000. They could again look to play on the counter-attack against an Austrian side who must go on the offensive – anything but a win will eliminate Marcel Koller’s team. Captain Aron Gunnarsson (pictured above) is expected to be available to play despite a groin problem while Johann Gudmundsson, Alfred Finnbogason and Saevarsson are one booking from a ban.

 

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Austria rode their luck in the goalless draw against Portugal, which missed a host of chances including a late penalty by Cristiano Ronaldo. Koller must decide whether to recall centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic (pictured above), who has completed a one-game ban following his red card against Hungary. Playmaker Zlatko Junuzovic could again miss out because of an ankle injury. The sides have only met three times before, with Austria winning once and the other two games drawn. Those three games produced a total of just five goals.

The most recent fixture between these two nations came in May 2014 as the sides shared a 1-1 draw, courtesy of a goal each from Austria’s Marcel Sabitzer and Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. Austria have not progressed from the group stage of a major tournament since reaching the second round at the 1982 World Cup. None of Austria’s past 32 shots at the European Championships have found the back of the net. Iceland have only lost one of their last eight competitive matches (W3, D4).

 

Today’s other games

Group F: Hungary v Portugal, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Décines, France; Thursday, June 22, 2am
Group E: Italy v Republic of Ireland, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille Métropole, France; Thursday, June 22, 5am
Group E: Sweden v Belgium, Allianz Riviera, Nice, France; Thursday, June 22, 5am

 

 

Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Iceland DNB v Austria (one unit @ $2.50) – we’re not really sure how Austria can be priced as favourites in game we have capped at a coin-flip price. The Austrians haven’t really fired a shot and, while Iceland started to show signs of fatigue against Hungary, they’ve at least scored in their two group games.

Sweden v Belgium WIN (one unit @ $1.85) – after a shocker against Italy, Belgium turned on the style against the Republic of Ireland, and we’re surprised to see them priced so generously against a Swedish outfit overly dominated by the presence and reputation of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Incredibly, Sweden are the only side yet to record a shot on target at Euro 2016.

 

Yesterday’s results: 2-0, +2.63 units; overall finals record: 14-9, +17.22 units; qualifying record: 34-10-26, +13.40 units

Ukraine v Poland WIN (two units @ $1.90) WIN (0-1)
Northern Ireland +2hcp v Germany (one unit @ $1.83) WIN (0-1)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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