Women's Euro Championship Betting: No reason to desert the Lionesses now
Fresh from a full house of winning bets in the quarter-finals, Dave Farrar predicts Denmark will at last make it to the Final and end Austria's run, and England to march on past the Netherlands...
“On the evidence of this tournament so far, the Danes should be shorter than they are to win in 90 minutes.”
Denmark v Austria
Live on Eurosport 1 and Channel 4
There's been nothing more admirable at Euro 2017 than Austria's run to the semi-final, but I think that Dominik Thalhammer's side has gone as far as it can.
As I explained in my quarter-final preview, Spain's style was tailor-made for Austria. They're hard-working and full of running, and a team as passive as the Spanish was always going to find it hard to break them down.
The difference with Denmark is that they play more pro-actively, will match Austria at their own game, and will do it a little better. I've expressed my admiration for Pernille Harder already in this column, and she has been the player of the tournament so far, so I fully expect her to lead Denmark to the Final.
Austria have over-achieved to such an extent here that it seems dangerous to write them off, but Thalhammer hasn't been able to do much rotation, every game has felt like a Final, and their legs must be getting heavy. I expect a spirited display, but one that will end in defeat.
Austria did win a pre-tournament friendly 4-2, but Denmark weren't fully focused that day and under-strength, so I'm happy to ignore that result and just be content that it boosts their price for us. On the evidence of this tournament so far, the Danes should be shorter than they are to win in 90 minutes.
Denmark have lost all five of their previous Euro semi-finals, but I'm confident that the curse will end in Breda on Thursday.
Back Denmark to beat Austria @ [2.5]
Netherlands v England
Live on Eurosport 1 and Channel 4
So, England are now favourites to win Euro 2017 after their win against France and Germany's defeat, and they deserve to be in that position. They looked nervous to me against the French, especially after Jodie Taylor's winning goal, but defended stoutly to hold on for the victory.
Those nerves worry me a little, and having already recommended England in the outright market at both [8.4] and [6.0], I don't think that there's any need to go in again if you're already sitting on one or both of those bets.
I have to treat this game in isolation, though, rather than as part of an overall punting strategy, and I still think that England are value to win in 90 minutes. I'm happy to put down the nerves against France to the historical weight of the opponent, and while it's a home game for the Dutch, the atmosphere in Entschede isn't exactly going to be poisonous and England should be more than capable of coping.
Mark Sampson will miss the experience of Jill Scott in his midfield, but he has a few capable replacements, and I just don't think that the Dutch can operate on the same level as England. Their class acts are Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens, but they're pretty average elsewhere, and easy to defend against for a team as well-drilled as England.
Sampson's team have conceded only once here (and that was when he played the "B" team against Portugal) and while the Netherlands have looked similarly solid under Sarina Wiegmann, I think that their conditioning is suspect, as is Wiegmann tactically. The draw has been kind to them here, they were certainly fortunate against Denmark, and indeed Belgium, and they've now met more than their match.
Since losing 1-0 to England last November, the Netherlands have been beaten three times, by Australia, France and Japan, and that hints at their level. They'll need to over-achieve massively to get past England, and I'm happy to take the [2.4] that Sampson's side get to a Final which they'll be strong favourites to win.
Back England to beat the Netherlands @ [2.4]
Staked 12 Points
Returned: 18.31 Points
Total P/L: + 6.31 Points