Euro 2024

Euro 2024 Dark Horses: The best stats behind the Underdogs in Germany

Euro 2024 betting tips: Back the dark horses in Germany
Euro 2024 betting tips: Back the dark horses in Germany

Paul Higham looks at the 18 teams outside of the group favourites to see who and why we should follow them in Euro 2024 - and how to get in the right side of them in the betting.

Betfair are offering customers a chance to earn a free bet each time the side they back to win Euro 2024 (£10 stake) scores a goal during the group stages. Do you opt for a side who is likely to go deep, like France, or, is your faith in a Portugal side who banged in 36 goals in 10 qualifying matches?

Romelu Lukaku is toward the top of the Golden Boot market after finishing the qualifying campaign as the top scorer with 14 goals - that was 64% of Belgium's 22 goals, so could he and the Red Devils be the side to back with the offer in mind?

Perhaps it is an outsider you fancy to surprise us all - like the much fancied Austria, Hungary or Ukraine, and a few goals in their opening three games could well pay you back for your faith in them before the tournament, and hope their big price takes you all the way!

Make sure you opt-in on the Betfair Sportsbook before the opening game and place a £10 bet (or £5 EW) in the Winner market to qualify!

Euro 2024 will see 24 teams heading to Germany chasing glory, and the odds suggest only a handful are capable of lifting the trophy in Berlin in July.

But this is often a tournament where the dark horses can make a run - and even win it in the case of that memorable Greece victory in 2004. Twenty years on, could there be another shock winner?

You wouldn't have had Italy or Portugal down as favourites the last two tournaments, while seeing Denmark, Wales, Russia and Turkey reach recent semi-finals shows dark horses can run well in this event.

And so there are some talented players and decent teams among the 18 outside of the six group favourites who are worth following, and backing...

Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

Scott McTominay Scotland.jpg

Scotland 100/1101.00

The way the Tartan Army brings the party, Scotland will always be a popular second team to follow in major tournaments, but Steve Clarke's side also have some genuine form behind them, qualifying with two games to spare and beating Spain along the way is not to be sniffed at.

They're 1/12.00 to qualify from a tough group, but confidence is high and with Robertson, Tierney and McGinn they've got quality there - and maybe a secret weapon if Liverpool youngster Ben Doak gets the nod?

For a best bet though Scott McTominay at 8/19.00 to be Scotland's top scorer is your man. He scored both goals against Spain as part of seven in qualifying and he's scored big goals for Man Utd all season - even in a deeper role he's the stand-out.

Hungary 80/181.00

A third straight Euros for the Magyars and I think they're primed for a run. They were unlucky last time pulling out France, Germany AND Portugal - but drew with the French and Germans (in Munich) so I've no doubt they qualify at 4/51.80.

They should be a good watch especially Liverpool's Dominic Szoboszlai, who is captain and free-roamng No.10 that's scored some absolute belters for his country - so back him at 10/34.33 to be Hungary top scorer and enjoy.

Switzerland 80/181.00

The Swiss wouldn't always be a great watch, but after the usual trick of sneaking into the knockouts last time, they beat France on pens after an epic 3-3, before then losing to Spain on spot kicks. And after scoring 22 and conceding 11 in qualifying could they now be the entertainers?

It's worth watching to find out - and who doesn't want to cheer on Granit Xhaka after he led Bayer Leverkusen's amazing season, scoring a few bangers along the way! They're 1/31.33 to qualify but knowing them it'll be by coming third - which you can back at 5/23.50 - and should since I'm taking Hungary to outdo them in the dark horse stakes.

Group B: Spain, Italy, Croatia, Albania

Luka Modric Croatia.jpgItaly 18/119.00

The defending champions shouldn't really be dark horses should they? Italy have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups and not made it out the groups of the previous two so on the world stage they've disappointed - but in the Euros they've made two of the last three finals.

Italy are 8/111.73 to make the quarter-finals, as they have done the last four Euros running, and Luciano Spalletti certainly plays a more entertaining, intense style so this Azzurri side is a lot easier to get behind - they just don't look likely to be such dogged tournament scrappers like we're used to.

Croatia 40/141.00

As long as 38-year-old Luka Modric is still lacing up his boots this perennial dark horse will still keep punching well above its weight as it has been since independence - and after second and third-placed finishes at the last two World Cups if he leads them to another final Modric will be a steal at 66/167.00 for Player of the Tournament.

They've not quite matched it at the Euros, where they've never won a knockout game, but they always seem to bring the drama having lost the last two in extra time and in 2008 on pens.

Croatia are 6/42.50 to make the quarter-finals which means finally winning a knockout game, and 23/103.30 to finish second in a wide-open group, but they've certainly got enough about them to even top the group at 4/15.00 as scrappy underdogs with character and quality in equal measure.

They've topped their group in two of the last four Euros, the last also containing Spain, and they've never lost to Italy so they're a live runner in this one.

Albania 500/1501.00

The huge outright odds reflect the huge task at hand here. Former Arsenal star Sylvinho is coach and Chelsea striker Armando Broja is their start attraction and they did top a qualifying group above the Czech Republic and Poland.

They are the darkest of dark horses, even though they won a game at Euro 2016 in their only previous major tournament, that was against Romania and the only bright side is you can back them to finish bottom of the group at 4/111.36 with the utmost confidence and also look at the 11/26.50 on offer for Albania to be the lowest scoring team at Euro 2024 - against three big teams that's a decent price.

Group C: England, Denmark, Serbia, Slovenia

Christian Eriksen Denmarkl.jpg

Denmark 40/141.00

The absolute definition of dark horses are the Danes, after climbing off their sun loungers to go and win Euro 92 as late replacements - they've that great history, great past players and great iconic kits all in their favour.

Then we had Christian Eriksen's near tragedy and them reaching the semis in 2021! There aren't meany teams with better storylines behind them, they've got Eriksen back and plenty of Premier League players we've heard of in a squad that plays from the heart and works hard for each other.

And they've now got Rasmus Hojlund, who has shown glimpses at Man Utd, and with this team set up to supply him he has his chance to really shine. They're 8/52.60 to finish second in the group while Hojlund is in prime dark horse territory at 16/117.00 to be Young Player of the Tournament.

Serbia 66/167.00

Their first Euros as Serbia, they disappointed at the third World Cup in Qatar so it's about time this squad laced with attacking quality fot their act together - and if they can they could be one of the best teams to watch in the tournament, as they're not great at the back.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic are proper goalscorers, while Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have genuine quality meaning they're odds-on to qualify, but 17/102.70 on finishing third is the bet as Denmark will be too canny for them. In the knockouts though they'll be a big threat.

Slovenia 500/1501.00

Huge outsiders, but Slovenia qualified with the same points and a better goal difference than Denmark in the same group - only coming second on head-to-head record, so on that form why couldn't they spring a shock and qualify from the group as 9/52.80 outsiders.

Supporting Matjaz Kek's side will be like proper FA Cup underdogs as they'll defend deep, lean on star keeper Jan Oblak and then try and hit on the break with 20-year-old RB Leipzig hot shot Benjamin Sesko - who looks likely to be heading to the Premier League next season, so get your scouting reports ready!

Group D: France, Netherlands, Austria, Poland

Virgil van Dijk Holland.jpg

Netherlands 18/119.00

As with Italy, the Dutch shouldn't really be dark horses in terms of talent and history, but recent Euros form has been ropey. We all love the way they play though so they'll have plenty of neutrals behind them hoping they can turn the tables on France after coming second in their qualifying group.

The France/Netherlands straight forecast at 8/52.60 will be popular and the Dutch are 10/111.91 to reach the quarters at least but the excitement in following the Oranjes is that you're never comfortable, they could let you down at any moment, but have the talent to go all the way.

They also stick the boot in when things don't go their way - including their ill-tempered World Cup exit at the hands of Argentina in Qatar, stuff you love to see!

Austria 80/181.00

Another pragmatic side it's usually been hard to get behind, but Ralf Rangnick has installed a fresh new style and new optimism into this Austrian side that saw them only lose once in qualifying, to Belgium.

If you like stylish midfield play then Marcel Sabitzer, Christoph Baumgartner and Konrad Laimer can provide that, and if you also like rogue wildcard forwards then Marko Arnautovic is still here at 35. He finished the season with three goals in two games for Serie A champions Inter and is liable to do anything on a football pitch.

They're 8/52.60 favourites to finish third but whatever they do if should be fun watching them do it.

Poland 125/1126.00

I'm a glass half full guy but beyond 35-year-old Robert Lewandowski scoring a few goals in his international swansong, there's not much hope for Poland after they scraped past Wales to make it to Germany. They're odds-on to finish bottom.

Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine

Artem Dovbyk Ukraine.jpg

Ukraine 100/1101.00

The prices in this group tell you Belgium have had a dream draw, but don't sleep on Ukraine, who still carry many well wishes with them and are still fighting on the pitch for their friends and families back home - and it's still a powerful force.

Apart from that, they're a slick and stylish side to watch, they've got La Liga's top scorer Artem Dovbyk, and Chelsea fans may actually see why they paid £90m for Mykhaylo Mudryk if he can find his form - that's worth watching alone.

They're 9/52.80 to finish second in the group.

Romania 250/1251.00

If you like a team of stubborn underdogs you've never heard of defending for their lives and trying to pinch goals from set pieces and counter attacks then Romania are the team for you.

They actually went unbeaten in qualifying and conceded just five goals, so while there's no famous Gheorghe Hagi any more (his son Ianis is in the squad though) they could collectively become something of an Iceland of the tournament. They're 4/61.67 to get through the group.

Slovakia 500/1501.00

As 5/61.84 outsiders to qualify from the group you know Slovakia are the underdogs of the underdogs but they won't get battered as PSG defender Milan Skriniar leads a defence that let in just eight goals in qualifying. I'll still back them to finish bottom of the group though at 7/52.40.

Group F: Portugal, Czech Republic, Turkey, Georgia

Vincenzo Montella Turkey.jpg

Turkey 50/151.00

We all backed Turkey as dark horses at Euro 2020 when they lost every game, but let's give them another go as Vincenzo Montella's side qualified above Croatia and have a raft of talented youngsters coming through who could take the tournament by storm.

Back the Portugal-Turkey straight forecast at 2/13.00 as it may just be the best one of the tournament, then sit back and watch Juventus' Kenan Yildiz and Real Madrid's Arda Guler in action - even back Guler for Young Player of the Tournament at 20/121.00.

Czech Rep 175/1176.00

The 1996 Czech side that reached the final is still their pinnacle of the modern era, and the fact skipper Tomas Soucek is their star man speaks volumes. Qualifying was a mess and coach Jaroslav Silhavy left his job despite them qualifying.

Georgia 500/1501.00

Former France international Willy Sagnol is in charge of the lowest ranked nation at the Euros, with Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia by far their best player - so they'll play five at the back and get him the ball whenever they can.

That's not a recipe for success obviously, so although you can cheer these plucky underdogs on in their major tournament debut, back them to finish bottom of the group at 4/61.67 and also as lowest tournament scorers at 15/28.50.

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