Euro 2016 final betting: A nation’s dream to become reality

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Updated: July 10, 2016

 

Euro 2016 final betting preview: Portugal v France; Stade de France, Paris, France; Monday, July 11, 5am

 

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It’s a been a tough time for France. There were the terror attacks in Paris last November, during which 130 people were killed. In recent weeks, mass strikes crippled the nation while protests in the capital over a labour reform bill ended in 58 arrests with 29 police officers among 40 people injured. But as the Euro 2016 finals have progressed, France’s national football team has proved a soothing tonic for the troubled country. “We don’t have the power to solve the French people’s problems but we can ease their worries. When you see the passion, inside and outside the stadium, this team has everything it takes to be loved, the players are performing well on the pitch and I’m very proud,” coach Didier Deschamps said.

While the story of the final relates to an entire nation for the French, the story in the opposite dugout is all about one man: Cristiano Ronaldo. The 31-year-old Portugal captain (pictured below) has the chance to win the first international title of his glittering career when his side take on the tournament hosts at the Stade de France. Portugal can also attest that things don’t always go to script after they lost the 2004 final as hosts to Greece. Twelve years on and it is the Portuguese cast in the role of unfashionable underdogs. Portugal coach Fernando Santos freely concedes his side are the tournament’s “ugly duckling”, but he promised during the group stage that they would reach the final, and here they are.

 

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France take a 10-game unbeaten run against Portugal into tonight’s final. Their overall record is W18, D1, L5. Portugal last avoided defeat against the French in 1975, when they won a friendly 2-0 in Paris. France’s 10-game winning streak includes the three previous meetings at major tournaments, all of which came at the semi-final stage. Michel Platini hit a late winner as France won 3-2 in extra time at Euro 1984, while Zinedine Zidane scored a golden goal (via a penalty) as the French won 2-1 at Euro 2000. The sides have met twice in friendlies in the last two years. Les Bleus won 2-1 at the Stade de France in October 2014 with goals from Karim Benzema and Paul Pogba (Ricardo Quaresma replied with a penalty), while Mathieu Valbuena’s free-kick gave France a 1-0 victory in Lisbon last September.

Portugal defender Pepe is expected to return for the final after missing the previous match with a thigh problem. Santos must decide whether to keep faith with midfielder Danilo or recall William Carvalho, who has completed a one-game ban. Portugal have played the most games in the history of the European Championship without ever winning the tournament (34, before this final). Should they beat France, that unwanted record will pass to England (31 matches). They are the first team to reach a Euro final after finishing third in the group stage. They are unbeaten in their 13 competitive fixtures under Santos with eight of their nine wins by a single goal.

 

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Deschamps is again expected to have all 23 players available. His biggest selection dilemma is whether to recall midfielder N’Golo Kante or continue with Moussa Sissoko. Crucial to their success has been the clinical form of Antoine Griezmann (pictured above), now heavily odds-on to win the Golden Boot after taking his tournament tally to six with two goals in their semi-final win over Germany. The 25-year-old (whose maternal grandfather was Portuguese) is already among esteemed company at the tournament. Griezmann’s exploits are all the more remarkable given he was dropped from the starting XI following France’s opening game. France have won three of their previous four finals at World Cups or European Championship finals.

They only time they ended as runners-up was at the 2006 World Cup, where they drew 1-1 with Italy before losing on penalties. They are unbeaten in their past 18 games in World Cups or Euro finals on home soil, winning 16 and drawing two. Their last defeat came at the inaugural European Championship in 1960 (they lost both their games – a semi-final against Yugoslavia and third-place play-off against Czechoslovakia). France are the last side to win the European Championship final after conceding the opening goal (they hit back from 1-0 down to beat Italy 2-1 in 2000). Notably, of France’s 13 goals at Euro 2016, 11 have been scored after the 42nd minute. Victory would mean France join Germany and Spain as three-time European champions, and we’re expecting them to complete another famous victory on home soil.

 

 

Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Portugal v France WIN (one unit @ $2.05) – first, a word of caution. There’s a temptation for punters to load-up on games like this, and that temptation should be resisted at all costs. If you’re behind, don’t bet beyond your existing staking plan just because this is the tournament final. If you’ve followed our tips and show a tremendous profit, bet in the confidence that the final is virtually a freeroll.

 

Most recent result: 1-0, +0.88 units; overall finals record: 23-13, +23.25 units; qualifying record: 34-10-26, +13.40 units

Germany v France – France to qualify (one unit @ $1.88) WIN (0-2)

• 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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