Betfair's Euro 2020 Team-by-Team Betting Guide:
Tips & Analysis

Welcome to Euro 2020 on Betfair.

It's the biggest European Championships ever with 24 teams vying to lift the trophy at Wembley on July 11. We have employed six of our football experts to do the research for you with an in-depth look at every nation going for glory this summer.

With no Cash Out Suspensions on match odds bets and a free £5 for every £20 staked on multiples, Betfair is the best place to do your Euro 2020 betting. Be sure to visit throughout for tips and previews on every game and much more...

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Group A Betting Preview

Italy qualified with ease but do they have the goalscorer a winning team needs?

Turkey are the hipsters' choice so have the hipsters called it right?

Are Switzerland capable of being anything more than solid?

And can Gareth Bale lead Wales on another glorious charge?

Tips, Analysis and Best Bets from Dave Farrar

Italy's lack of a firing forward is a weakness

Italy were one of the outstanding teams of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020, have a useful draw, and a coach who seems to have a united squad of players, with youth to the fore. They're an exuberant and talented bunch, one who could go a long way in what I'm increasingly finding a difficult tournament to call.

Ten wins out of ten in that qualifying campaign, with only four goals conceded, was heady stuff, although Finland, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina weren't the sharpest opposition. Reinforcing that point is their recent form, six wins out of six without a goal conceded. You can again question the teams that they have beaten, but not the way that they have gone about it.

Italy have a difficult looking opening game against Turkey, but I still expect them to go deep at a tournament for which they look primed.

Immobile not hitting Serie A highs on international stage

The biggest worry for Roberto Mancini and his squad, and for every single Italy fan, is their lack of a proven international goalscorer. In Ciro Immobile, they have the European Golden Boot of 2019/20, and yet for all of his ability to terrorise defences in Serie A, he struggles at this level.

Twelve goals in 45 games is not good enough, his great friend Andrea Belotti is a hard working, but run of the mill backup, and Italy will be hoping for a Salvatore Schillaci (ask your Dad) style contribution from just one of their striking options.

They have the brilliant Lorenzo Insigne to contribute from out wide, and there'll be more in a moment on Federico Chiesa, but if there is to be an unlikely Italian goalscoring star of Euro 2020, then Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi would be near the top of my list. He has had an excellent domestic season, and looks to be the kind of player that grows into the Azzurri shirt, rather than allows himself to shrink. He's around the 80/1 mark to be the tournament top goalscorer, and will be worth watching in the Italy top goalscorer market.

Barella and Chiesa two to watch

For a team which is so proud of being packed with young talent, the Young Player of the Tournament award is the most obvious place to start from an Italy point of view, and in Nicolo Barella and Federico Chiesa they have two of the leading contenders.

The Young Player award has only been handed out once, and was won by a dynamic midfield player in the shape of Renato Sanches. Barella, although deeper lying, fits that mould, and must be of interest, and you feel that if Italy are to get to the final, then Barella and Chiesa simply must have played well, and you might prefer to back either in this category rather than the Azzurri in the outright.

Barella is a realistic pick for the Young Player award, but as the flashier and more obvious contributor, Chiesa might be the more sensible "Player of the Tournament" option. He's 40/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook, but his excellence after moving to Juventus last season makes that on the long side, although all is dependent on Italy at least reaching the final.

Back Chiesa to be Player of the Tournament @ 40/1

Not the defensive masters of old

The starting point of much of the UK coverage of the tournament will be that Italy are a safety first team, slow to get going, defensively masterful. The reasoning behind all of that is based on a stuck in a groove trope from the 1980s, and should be approached with caution. This Italy are good to watch, like to pass the ball quickly and create overloads, and they will surprise a few of the "once every two years" viewers with the way that they go about things.

I'm not necessarily advocating throwing Italy into early over 2.5 goals bets or anything of that nature, as they can be circumspect, simply that they will be easy on the eye, and, if one of their forward options fires, then they could go very close this summer.

May be better options at the odds

I have watched a lot of this Italy side these past two years and seen them develop throughout Roberto Mancini's time in charge. I think that they are good enough to go very close, but see the lack of a goalscorer and an occasional mental fragility as points which would discourage me from wholeheartedly recommending them to win Euro 2020. If one of their strikers "does a Schillaci" then I'd give them a chance, but there will be better bets at similar prices this summer.

Hipsters might be right about talented Turkey

Turkey are starting to emerge as the hipster pick to go a long way at Euro 2020, and as well as a small amount of knowledge, as well as plenty of received wisdom, there's also some solid logic behind the idea. In Senol Gunes, they have an experienced coach who knows how to win, and they have an excellent first XI, full of players who have been in good form in their domestic Leagues.

Take the Lille contingent, throw in Hakan Calanoglu and Cengiz Under, and then back that up with solid defensive options like Merih Demiral, Caglar Soyuncu and Ozan Kabak, and you have the makings of a team that could have a run here. They look to me, though, like a side which can outperform its odds, without coming too close to winning the tournament.

I'm not going to write off another glorious semi-final, though, and that's available at around 12.0 on the Exchange, and Turkey do have a recent history of either burning extremely bright or failing epically. Semi-finalists in the 2002 World Cup, they have failed to qualify since, and semi-finalists in Euro 2008, while not landing a blow in the tournament in subsequent years.

I certainly like the idea of Turkey qualifying from the Group, and can see them causing problems for traditional slow starters Italy in the tournament's opening game. So they will be somewhere in between going deep and going home, a journey that I could see ending in the quarter-finals, a pre tournament possibility that is priced at 13/5 with the Sportsbook.

Can Yilmaz have an impact at 35?

Goalscoring is going to be a major problem for Gunes. He has the glorious maniac Burak Yilmaz to lead the line, and watching him against Italy's centre halves in the opening game of the tournament is going to be a particular joy, but how much consistent impact can Burak make at this level at the age of 35?

His 16 goals for Lille this season show that he still has the knack, and his international record is approaching a goal every two games, but he is going to need some help. The likeliest candidate is Yusuf Yazici, who famously scored two Europa League hat tricks for Lille this season, but he hasn't scored from open play since early February, and it's asking a lot for him to come to the party here.

I like Halil Dervisoglu, and if he makes the squad then he will be an interesting player, but I have a feeling that it's Burak or bust for Turkey. He is a 50/1 shot to be the tournament top scorer, and given the likely lack of goals from elsewhere in the team, that's a sporting price and may reward an each-way investment.

Back Burak Yilmaz to be top goalscorer each-way @ 50/1

Hakan Calanoglu is Turkey's best and most stylish player, but too inconsistent to make the kind of he would need to contend for tournaments awards. Anyone else would have to have a world class summer to go this far, and, short of Yazici hitting that Europa League form again, I just don't see it.

Defence is strong but Gunes wants to attack

Atypically, it was Turkey's defence that qualified them for Euro 2020, as they conceded only three goals in the qualifying campaign, but Senol Gunes has forever been regarded as one of the great attacking coaches, and he wants his teams to entertain.

He has the players to do so, and if Calanoglu in particular can find the space to create, then Turkey will be fun to watch. Expect high energy from two attacking full backs, and a good deal of quality in the final third. It's just that reliance on Burak Yilmaz that might see them fall short.

Quarter-finals likely exit point

I think that Turkey will justify that hipster faith and get out of the group, and then cause a surprise or two. I see them as quarter-finalists, a team that will leave us with happy memories without ever looking like winning Euro 2020.

Back Turkey for a quarter-final exit @ 13/5

Swiss destined for standard last 16 exit

My starting point with Switzerland ahead of every major tournament (and they ARE frequently good enough to qualify, which is a feather in their cap) is that they are probably good enough to make the last 16 and then go no further.

The stats of course back this up, and it's astonishing to see the extent to which Switzerland live up to their footballing image. Organised and good enough to be here, but then an apologetic departure and a refocus on the next campaign. Let's be clear: a Round of 16 exit at the last four World Cups for which they have qualified, and then a Round of 16 departure at the only Euros they've qualified for which, um, had a Round of 16.

So for the Swiss, who qualified without too much fanfare with five wins out of eight in Group D, and who lost just once, in Denmark, the question 'Go Deep or Go Home' is not on which we need to spend a great deal of time. I suspect that they will make it through the Group, as one of the best third placed teams, but then it will be a fond farewell at the first time of asking, and another last 16 departure.

No goalscorer and no real stars

I'm aware that Switzerland got to the finals of the UEFA Nations League, and that this was heralded as an achievement, and all of that is fine, but there are sound footballing reasons for thinking that they will go out sooner, rather than later, and chief among those is their lack of a goalscorer of any quality.

When Xherdan Shaqiri is your best attacking player, you know that you're in final third trouble. I've loved watching Shaqiri over the years, but the fact that he is so erratic is what makes him so likeable, and he's not a player to to build an attack around, not any more.

They don't have one of those, and with Breel Embolo, Haris Seferovic and Mario Gavranovic the three main attacking options the Swiss are in trouble, but opportunity maybe knocks for us. At the last World Cup, Switzerland had five different goalscorers, all with one apiece, and it was a tie between three at Euro 2016. There were five different goalscorers at the World Cup in 2012, but Shaqiri's hat trick against Honduras meant that he finished as their top scorer, while Gelson Fernandes scored their only goal of the 2010 World Cup, and thus ended as their top scorer.

If Theo Zagorakis can win Player of the Tournament at a European Championship, then I suppose that any of the Swiss midfield could do likewise. Shaqiri would have to have the tournament of three lifetimes to contend, while Freuler would be the Zagorakis clone, in the unlikely event that Switzerland win the thing. Not a market that I would spend too much time on with regard to Vladimir Petkovic's "team of no stars".

Lots of energy but not enough quality

Petkovic has certainly been trying to change the way that the Swiss go about things, looking to be a little more dynamic, and to press higher up the field, and after being criticised fairly robustly for the lack of imagination shown by his teams, this new approach appears to have gone down well. For all of the good intentions, though, it comes down to players, and Switzerland will be short on inspiration here. I see them as energetic and hard working, fitness to the fore, but ultimately short of the level required.

Too many better teams in this tournament

I keep reading that this is a new Switzerland, that there is a togetherness in this squad of many nations and that things will be different this time around. I look at players, though, and still see an average team. United, yes. Good enough to contend? Not quite. If there was room this year for a Greece 2004 then it may just be Switzerland, but there are too many good teams in form for that particular part of history to repeat itself. Opposing them in their last 16 tie seems a wise play.

Back Switzerland for a last 16 exit @ 6/4

Wales will struggle to match 2016

Semi-finalists at the last European Championships, dismissed as relative no hopers this time around. Wales have had a problematic build-up, largely down to the absence of their manager Ryan Giggs, and the stand in coach Robert Page has his hands full trying to get the most out of a squad which possesses some high-class players, but probably not enough of them.

Wales went deep last time, but I'm afraid that I can't see the same kind of performance this time round, and they have to be prime contenders to finish bottom of the Group at 13/10. They start against a Swiss side who presents Wales' best chance of picking up points in an awkward group, and if they fail in that opening game in Baku, then it could turn into a very long fortnight or so.

Bale, James and Wilson can star

Gareth Bale finished the season in good form for Spurs, and so he is the obvious pick as the man most likely to fire Wales into any kind of contention, while Daniel James, scorer of the winning World Cup Qualifying goal against the Czech Republic back in March, is another option, as is Harry Wilson. Frustrating though Bale can be, he is Wales's star performer by some distance, and so the only real option if you're looking for a candidate to make a wider impact in the tournament, as either Top Goalscorer, or Player of the Tournament. Neither seems particularly likely, though.

Ramsey can show his class in friendlier environment

Page will attempt to use his resources to the full, and that means playing with three at the back, a five man midfield, and then relying on a spark from James, Bale, or Wilson. Aaron Ramsey has looked a busted flush at Juventus, but will welcome being back in a friendlier environment, and may play well enough here to earn himself a contract at another big club.

Should finish bottom

After leading against Belgium before going down, and then beating the Czech Republic, Wales showed that they can still trouble teams at this level, and that would stop me from recommending them to finish bottom of Group A with any confidence. That said, they are in a strong section, one that it will be tough to emerge from. I can't see them coming anywhere near replicating that glorious journey from five years ago, and see them as a last 16 team at best. If pushed, they would be my choice to finish bottom of this group, but they're favourite in that market and there are better bets around at Euro 2020.

Group B Betting Preview

Will Belgium's golden generation bring home a first trophy?

Is Christian Eriksen back to his best and ready to inspire Denmark?

Will Russia's home advantage be enough to get them through?

Could Finland's team ethic make them the dark horses?

Tips, Analysis and Bets from David Tindall

Belgium have everything in favour for a deep Euros run

Belgium are top of the FIFA World Rankings and yet only third favourites at 13/2 to win Euro 2020. Does that mean Roberto Martinez's side are being underrated?

You can come at it in a variety of ways but Belgium are the odd ones out when looking at the top nine in the betting. Nope, it's not for beginning with 'B' or ending with 'm': instead, they're the only nation in that leading bunch who haven't won a major trophy.

And yet, it's easy to find plenty of good news. First, this is Belgium's 'Golden Generation' and they seem to be getting closer. At the 2018 World Cup they played some delightful stuff before being edged out by eventual champions France in the semi-finals.

History offers hope

Second, while the World Cup is a closed shop won only by the biggest football nations, the Euros are far more welcoming to smaller countries looking to make the breakthrough.

Czechoslovakia (via Panenka's famous penalty) upset West Germany in the 1976 final, Denmark famously came off the beach to win in 1992 after the break-up of Yugoslavia opened up a place and Greece were shock winners in 2004.

Holland lost back-to-back World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978 but got the job done in this tournament, helped by Marco van Basten's outrageous volley in the 1988 final. And Portugal hoisted the trophy in 2016 to finally give their own Golden Generation something tangible after years of promise.

Belgium have echoes of those Dutch and Portuguese sides. They're not super-heavyweights historically and yet their current squad puts them on a par with any side in world football.

So the door is open. After reaching the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros along with reaching the semis in Russia, can they overcome the weight of both history and expectation and charge their way through it this time?

To hit No.1 in the rankings, the Belgians have obviously been doing lots of winning. They scored more goals (40) than any other team during qualification and also conceded just three.

Having strolled to the finals, getting out of a modest group featuring Denmark, Russia and Finland looks a virtual certainty and it's just 4/5 they do it as Group B winners which looks a good option for accas. If further confidence was needed, they won England's group at the last World Cup with a maximum nine points.

There is a caveat though as Denmark and Russia will have home advantage against them as the Group B fixtures are shared between Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg. The fact that Belgium won all five of their away games in qualifying suggests that won't be a problem, especially as they have recent wins away to both Russia (4-1 in qualifying) and Denmark (2-0 in the Nations League).

After that (checks 'When Saturday Comes' wallchart), finishing top of Group B would give them a last-16 game against one of the third-placed teams. Navigate that and, if the betting/form worked out, it's a quarter-final against Italy in Munich and a semi-final against either Germany or France at Wembley.

Goals come naturally

Those 40 goals in qualifying were shared among 15 different players which is some stat. No prizes for guessing their leading marksman: Romelu Lukaku with seven. Eden Hazard banked five, Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi four apiece and Christian Benteke three. Leicester's FA Cup final hero, Youri Tielemans, netted twice, as did his Foxes team-mate Timothy Castagne along with Toby Alderweireld, Nacer Chadli and Dries Mertens.

Belgium have taken flight since switching to a 3-4-3 formation during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and, in a dream scenario for backers, they dominate games and De Bruyne and co. set up numerous chances for Lukaku to finish off. The Inter Milan striker bagged 23 in Serie A this season (second only to Cristiano Ronaldo) and is a huge hero in Milan after powering the Nerazzurri to the title.

Lukaku is a strong candidate for top Belgium scorer at 11/10, the Golden Boot at 6/1 and perhaps for Player of the Tournament at 25/1. Also check him out in the Winner/Top Goalscorer Double market: Lukaku to win the Golden Boot and Belgium to be crowned champions is also 25s.

Back Lukaku to win the Golden Boot and Belgium to win the Euros @ 25/1

Player of the Tournament tends to go to famous players, with Zinedine Zidane, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Antoine Griezmann winning four of the last five. The first three played for the tournament's winning side while Griezmann's France lost in the final so the recipe seems to be a top star on a team which reaches the final. De Bruyne, although likely to miss the opener through injury, is 9/1 and would surely be a big runner if Belgium went all the way.

The big mystery is what part Eden Hazard will play. A 25/1 shot for Player of the Tournament, he's hardly featured for Real Madrid this season due to injury and has only won two caps for his country since 2019.

Will dominate early games and can go deep

Style-wise, Belgium will hog possession in the early games and also have most of the ball in the crunch matches later on too. They're a great watch and romantics without allegiance will surely be cheering on the Red Devils. Assessing their progression, the 7/5 to reach the semis looks fair while runners-up at 15/2 is the bet for those who think this side is always destined to always come up short. Reasons why that might happen would include the loss of Axel Witsel in central midfield and an ageing defence which the best teams could pick off although goalkeeper Thibault Courtois is a super last line of defence.

Going forward they have few peers though and certainly have a look at them to be the tournament's leading scorers at 11/2. Belgium won that market in the 2018 World Cup after blasting in 16 goals.

Back Belgium to be leading scorers at Euro 2020 @ 6/1

Denmark, world's 10th best team, have tools to contend

Denmark have some very famous history in this event after winning the 1992 tournament. Making the final was a great story in itself but winning it against Germany with goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort was into the realms of another great Dane, Hans Christian Andersen.

This is another decent Danish crop and they're second favourites in the outright Group B betting at 15/8 although it's hard to see them overhauling Belgium.

The FIFA World Rankings suggest they shouldn't be underestimated though. Denmark reside at No.10 and that's above Germany (12th), Croatia (14th) and the Netherlands (16th).

One key factor is that they'll play all three of their group games at home in the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen. That has to be a big help although, with four third-placed teams also going through to the last 16, Denmark are just 1/7 to qualify. Preference is surely for the 6/4 about them finishing as group runners-up. A recent 2-0 loss at home to Belgium franks that belief.

Denmark, who also made the quarter-finals of this touranment in 2004 and the last 16 in Russia, showed their quality in October with a 1-0 Wembley win over England in the Nations League. They also held Gareth Southgate's 0-0 in Denmark and are resolute and difficult to defeat having gone unbeaten in their qualifying campaign: four wins and four draws saw them finish as runners-up to Switzerland.

Eriksen the main Dane

Christian Eriksen scored the winner from the spot at Wembley and the former Spurs man is undoubtedly the Danes' talisman. He's racked up 36 goals in 106 international appearances and when filtering out the early years he's bagged 30 in his last 49 so really is prolific.

On those numbers, Eriksen (who takes penalties), is an each-way outsider at 80/1 in the Golden Boot market. That appeals more than the 80s for Player of the Tournament.

Back Eriksen to be top goalscorer each-way @ 80/1

Martin Braithwaite could be the other player of interest in the scorer markets but the goals have dried up for the Barcelona attacker with just three goals for club and country since the turn of the year.

Good tournament football blend

The masterplan for the Danes is to keep it tight at the back and in midfield and hope Eriksen can produce some magic. That's a decent recipe for tournament football.

If Denmark finish runners-up and Switzerland take second behind Italy in Group A, the pair would meet in a last-16 clash in Amsterdam. Kasper Hjumland's side took four points off the Swiss in qualifying which bodes well.

The Even money to reach the quarters seems a fair reflection. After that, as 92 never know!

Home comforts may not be enough for Russia

With expectations pretty much at rock bottom when they hosted World Cup 2018, Russia emerged as one of the surprises of the tournament.

They set the tone with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, made it out of the group in second place and then stunned Spain on penalties in the last 16. They again reached a shootout in the quarters but fell to eventual losing finalists Croatia.

So the big question is whether coach Stanislav Cherchesov can create that same spirit three years on.

In Russia's favour is the fact that they'll again have some home advantage although it won't be as pronounced. Their first two games - against Belgium and Finland - are both in St Petersburg but, perhaps crucially, they have to travel to Copenhagen to play Denmark in what could prove to be the battle for second spot.

Can pick holes in Russia's qualifying campaign

It's hard to knock Russia's qualifying campaign as they won eight matches out of 10, their only defeats coming against Belgium (1-3 and 1-4), who they'll meet again here of course.

But the majority of their 24 points came against poor sides and there's a feeling that they're one of the teams who could have done with playing the tournament as originally scheduled rather than having to wait a year.

Style-wise, they can be a tough watch against the better sides as Cherchesov will pack the defence and hope to nick something or, as in the knockout stages of the World Cup, hope to take his chance with penalties.

Can Dzyuba step it up again?

They did produce the qualifying group's top scorer in Artem Dzyuba. The 32-year-old scored nine times and averages better than a goal in every two games for his country. A word of warning though: be careful when googling him after a dodgy video of Dzyuba appeared on the internet! His act of self-love led to a three-game absence although he's back in the fold again.

With four of the best third-placed teams qualifying, the back door is open for Russia and, indeed, they're just 4/11 to make the knockout phase. If they did do that, Russia would play a group winner, hence their price of 11/5 to reach the quarter-finals.

They're not without hope of rising to the occasion again but, a big defeat to Belgium in the opening game, and the potential for a flop grows in a squad made up mostly of home-based players.

Finland are a team greater than the sum of its parts

To get a handle on Finland, perhaps think Iceland in Euro 2016. That, of course, will immediately send shudders down the spines of England fans after watching their team crash to a shocking 2-1 defeat in the last 16.

Finland reaching a major tournament for the first time has gone down a storm in a country where it's hard to shift ice hockey off the sports pages.

They did so by finishing runners-up to Italy in Group J, winning six and losing four. A pair of defeats to the Azzurri as well as away losses to the teams in third (Greece) and fourth (Bosnia and Herzegovina) perhaps shows their limitations. And, of course, with this tournament spread across Europe, they'll face away games against group rivals Denmark and Russia.

Pukki power could push Finland into knockout stages

And yet the 12/5 about the Finns making it out of the group (perhaps as a third-placed side) shouldn't be dismissed too quickly.

They certainly fit the mould of being a team greater than the sum of its parts, and spirit and organisation could count for plenty.

They also have an ace in the pack in striker Teemu Pukki. The Norwich marksman fired 10 goals in qualifying (six better than anyone else in Group J!) and has 20 in his last 28 games for Finland.

And after tailing off during the Canaries' Premier League campaign two seasons ago, he's come back with a bang this term. Pukki scored 26 goals in the Championship as Norwich won the title by six points.

The former Celtic man is 100/1 in the Golden Boot betting but, if that seems unlikely, he's certainly worth a look for anytime scorer on a game-by-game basis.

Back Finland to qualify from Group B @ 12/5

Group C Betting Preview

Will injury-hit Netherlands struggle or will talented forwards make opponents (De)pay?

Can Foda get Austria' stars to bring their A-game?

Are Ukraine capable of consistency under legend Shevchenko?

Should we look to North Macedonia for the feel-good story of the summer?

Tips, Analysis and Best Bets by Kevin Hatchard

Holland haunted by notable absentees

After missing out on Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, there is an element of joy in the Netherlands about even being able to return to competition at this level. However, optimism has been in short supply since coach Ronald Koeman was lured to Barcelona and defensive behemoth Virgil van Dijk was lost to injury.

Koeman's replacement Frank de Boer has a point to prove after a series of coaching mis-steps and failed adventures. He was gone in the blink of an eye at both Inter Milan and Crystal Palace, and at Atlanta United he failed to extend the spell of success that had been enjoyed by his predecessor Tata Martino.

That said, De Boer had an excellent spell as Ajax coach and he racked up 112 caps for his country as a defender, so he can't be accused of lacking experience of tournament football.

Without van Dijk, there are defensive concerns, and the recent 4-2 defeat against Turkey in World Cup qualifying rang some alarm bells.

De Boer appears to favour a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Stefan De Vrij or Daley Blind likely to partner Matthijs de Ligt at the heart of the defence. Left-back Owen Wijndal has had a superb season with AZ, and there are several contenders for the right-back spot. First-choice keeper Jasper Cillessen has been ruled out after contracting COVID-19, and while backups Tim Krul and Maarten Stekelenburg are competent, they aren't elite

Frenkie de Jong finally showed his quality under Koeman at Barcelona, after a slow start to life in Catalonia, and he will be at the base of midfield. Skipper Gini Wijnaldum and Davy Klaasen are all-action midfielders, and Donny van de Beek will be fresh after a light workload at Manchester United, although there's a question over whether de Boer can restore the former Ajax star's damaged confidence. Marten de Roon has had another strong season for Atalanta, and is pushing for a starting spot.

Memphis Depay provides an X-factor in attack, and has learned to take on more responsibility. He's had a fantastic season for Lyon, and admirably shrugged off the collapse of a dream move to Barcelona. De Boer has resisted the temptation to include a willing Arjen Robben, after the veteran winger returned from months on the sidelines and suggested he was willing to answer the call if needed.

Short price to win a tough group

The Netherlands are the 4/11 favourites to win the group, but that feels too short to be of real interest. The Dutch have home advantage, and are in theory the strongest side in the section, but the other three teams are all capable of giving them a test, and this could be a tighter group than people anticipate.

De Boer's team will probably progress, but I wouldn't be confident of them having a deep run beyond the group stage. If they finish second in their section, they could end up facing Italy in the last 16, and even if they win the group, there's a possibility of getting a third-placed team from the group involving France, Germany and Portugal.

The Dutch can be backed at 4/6 to reach the quarter-finals, and it's not a bet that appeals. In fact, I think I'd be looking to lay that price on the Betfair Exchange at this stage.

Austria often flatter to deceive

Given the quality at their disposal, it seems odd that Austria haven't made more of an impact at international level in the last few years. David Alaba is a proven winner with Bayern Munich, and a clutch of German Bundesliga-based players have the potential to gel as a solid unit.

However, there are questions marks over the ability of coach Franco Foda to maximise this potential, and there is anger among fans regarding a perceived bias towards players who are based in Germany rather than Austria.

Talent throughout but can Foda knit it together?

The use of Alaba is a debate in itself. He has been excellent at centre-back under Hansi Flick at Bayern, having been a swashbuckling left-back for most of his career. However, Foda has often used him as a left-sided or central midfielder, and I'm not sure that's how you get the best out of him, especially when Austria are actually well-off when it comes to midfield depth. RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer has become a leading figure for club and country, Xaver Schlager has just had a fantastic season for Champions League qualifiers Wolfsburg, and Hoffenheim's Christoph Baumgartner is an exciting and technically-gifted talent.

Individually, the defenders are good enough to suggest Austria can compete in games. The eccentric and physically-imposing Martin Hinteregger has helped Eintracht Frankfurt qualify for Europe, while Aleksandar Dragovic is handy on the ball and is unafraid to rough opponents up. Veteran left-back Andreas Ulmer is the captain of Salzburg's winning machine, while rampaging right-back Stefan Lainer is a human dynamo.

In attack, it will seem like a major mis-step if Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic isn't deployed as the focal point. Although he is two metres tall and has scored plenty of headers this term, the 23-year-old can really play, and he has rattled in 16 Bundesliga goals in an incredible season. His progress is all the more remarkable when you consider he only returned from a serious knee injury last year.

An alternative is the unpredictable but sometimes-inspirational Marko Arnautovic. As West Ham fans will remember, the forward is capable of wonderful moments, but there are concerns over whether a spell in China has dulled his competitive edge.

Cautious approach not producing

German coach Foda is seen by many fans and journalists as being too cautious, focusing on preventing goals going in rather than scoring them. That approach hasn't been working recently - Das Team put in a shambolic performance in a 4-0 home defeat to Denmark in the World Cup qualifiers, and that followed a 2-2 draw against Scotland that saw Foda's side twice surrender the lead. Austria have to find the right balance between attack and defence, and they have to use star player Alaba in a more sensible and effective manner.

A game against North Macedonia seems a kind start, but the result will set the tone for Austria's whole tournament. Foda's men should qualify, but it's hard to see them going far.

Back Austria to lose in the last 16 @ 10/11

Shevchenko brings belief back to Ukraine

As a player, Andriy Shevchenko led Ukraine from the front as a classy striker, and now he dominates the side from the coach's bench. Although the 44-year-old failed to take his team to the 2018 World Cup, he secured a ticket to Euro 2020 by winning the qualifying group ahead of Portugal. The man nicknamed "Sheva" is credited with changing his players' mentality, and making them believe they can win games.

Recent results are a concern

Had this tournament actually taken place when it was originally scheduled to, I'd be more confident about Ukraine's chances, but the last 12 months have yielded some concerning results. Ukraine were smashed 7-1 by France in a friendly last year, they went down 4-0 in Spain in the Nations League and they lost home and away to a haphazard Germany side in the same competition.

In the recent World Cup qualifiers, Ukraine drew all three games 1-1. Yes, they held France in Paris, but they also played out stalemates at home against Finland and Kazakhstan.

Question marks over certain positions

There is a question mark over the goalkeeping position, and if Shevchenko persists with veteran Andriy Pyatov, opposition sides will look to target him. Dynamo Kyiv's Heorhiy Bushchan is a more solid and reliable option. There are also concerns at centre-back, with clean sheets increasingly hard to come by. Left-back Andriy Mykolenko is one to watch - the former Dynamo Kyiv ball-boy now stars for his beloved club, and is an attacking outlet.

The real class is in midfield. Ruslan Malinovskyi has had a terrific season with Atalanta, and is capable of controlling midfield and scoring from distance. There's a reason that Pep Guardiola places so much trust in Oleksandr Zinchenko at Manchester City, and although he often plays left-back in the Premier League, he'll line up in midfield here. Shakhtar Donetsk's Taras Stepanenko is an aggressive and tough holding midfielder, with Dynamo's Viktor Tsyhankov is lavishly talented, if a little fragile physically.

The loss of Shakhtar striker Junior Moraes to a knee injury is a hefty blow. Wide players Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka can catch the eye on their day, but those days don't arrive often enough, while naturalised Brazilian Marlos is a lovely player to watch in the attacking midfield role.

Third place beckons

Ukraine are capable of beating any of the sides in their group, but I doubt their consistency, and I like the look of backing them to finish third in the group on the Sportsbook at 17/10.

Back Ukraine to finish third in Group C @ 17/10

North Macedonia are no pushovers

If anyone had doubts about the ability of first-time qualifiers North Macedonia, those concerns were dispelled by their remarkable 2-1 win against Germany in the World Cup qualifiers in March. This was no smash-and-grab in Duisburg - Igor Angelovski's men played with poise and belief. It was fitting that age-defying forward Goran Pandev should score in that famous win, as the 37-year-old was the one whose winning goal against Georgia in Tblisi secured his country's maiden appearance at the finals of a major tournament.

There are rumblings of discontent in the background, with coach Angelovski only given a short-term contract extension at the start of the year. That tepid show of faith went down like a lead balloon with the players, who have united as a group under Angelovski's astute leadership. Pandev has been particularly vocal on the subject, and his words carry significant weight.

Bottom spot looms despite talent

Napoli's Eljif Elmas and Levante's Enis Bardhi provide a spark in midfield, while the energy and grit come from Arijan Ademi and Boban Nikolov. Ezgjan Alioski will raid down the left after a great campaign in the Premier League with Leeds United.

North Macedonia took advantage of the change to qualifying in the sense that they used the Nations League to book a playoff spot, and that performance against a blue-chip nation like Germany shows they can raise their game. However, it would be a big surprise to see them finish anything but bottom here, and the price of 2/5 for them to do just that, while short, seems fair.

Group D Betting Preview

Do we dare to dream about England or is defence the weak link?

Is this a tournament too far for Modric and the rest of Croatia's ageing stars?

Does Scotland's progress all come down to their opener?

Are Czech Republic set to go home early or can they surprise people?

Tips, Analysis and Bets by Paul Higham

England's case rests on the defence

Is it coming home? Is the question I suppose, and when you look at the squad there's no shock at England being one of the tournament favourites. They're a bit short to advise backing, but the talent, especially going forward, is undeniable.

The massive question is Gareth Southgate and how he sets up his team to get the most out of Kane, Foden, Sancho, Sterling, Grealish, Mount and others while still masking the obvious deficiencies that still exist at the back. Nevertheless, with such attacking options it's easy to see why they're 4/1 to be the top scorers.

They're 1/3 to win the group with much depending on that World Cup semi-final rematch with Croatia, but there is a theory that finishing second would be better - as it'd be a possible last 16 tie with Sweden or Poland instead of against France, Portugal or Germany from the dreaded Group F.

In all likelihood, though, a quarter-final tie with the winner of Group F would follow anyway so either way England will have a tough encounter in store - as they should in this tournament. All the ingredients are there, if Southgate can find the right mix

Foden can thrill

Let's take Kane scoring a few for granted, so elsewhere it looks set-up for Foden to explode onto the scene similar to Wayne Rooney in Euro 2004, which is why he's 7/2 favourite for Young Player of the Tournament and 25/1 for outright Player of the Tournament.

He's got that dribbling ability we all love and could score or create out of nothing - and in tight knockout games he could be the difference. England's midfield will have to do well too as keeping hold of the ball has been their downfall time and again, so Jack Grealish, if he starts well, could be vital.

Mount may surprise

Kane is 6/5 to be England's top scorer and 5/1 for the tournament, and he'll be on the penalties which could be crucial in this tournament. Where else could we look though? Sterling (11/2) has 10 in 12 games for England but just two in 18 for club and country, and was left out of many big games by Pep Guardiola. His England place could be under threat from the likes of Mason Mount - who could be a live outsider here at 14/1 to top score for England. He's looked their best player recently with three goals in eight internationals and has scored in bunches this season.

Defensive questions dominate

Southgate has alternated formation so we're not too sure if three at the back will prevail, but regardless the emphasis should be on retaining possession and game management. That Croatia World Cup semi-final showcased England's age-old problem of not being able to dictate play, keep their own tempo and see a game out. With so many technical footballers available, playing under top coaches with a similar emphasis on ball retention that should be Southgate's big focus.

He is a tad cautious by nature so expect two holding midfielders, but it'd be great to see him field four forwards - Kane with Sterling, Foden and Mount behind and trust Grealish in a midfield role with the aim of dominating possession.

Odds-against on semis is tempting

It's easy to get caught up in patriotic optimism, but so many of this squad are big players at top clubs around Europe let alone England so there's every right to expect a decent run. Legs will be a big issue, after such a tough season there may not be much left in the tank - this tournament is all about survival of the fittest.

Win the group and they'll only play one game away from Wembley - a quarter-final in Rome - and they're 4/9 to get that far, but the 7/5 on them reaching the semis, as they did in Euro 96, seems pretty realistic. They do have genuine world class players to take them all the way of course, but that's beyond England fan's wildest dreams, isn't it?

Back England to reach the semi-finals @ 7/5

Croatia shorn of stars as age takes its toll

Beaten World Cup finalists Croatia are still a talented technical side, but could they be just a few years beyond their best? Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Danijel Subasic have retired and star man Luka Modric is now 35.

They still have threats such as Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic and with such ability and international knowhow, 4/1 on them winning the group is a big price even though they are paired with hosts England and Scotland. They should qualify comfortably enough but may not have enough to get beyond the quarter-finals.

As ever, Modric is the man

Simply enough the star man is Luka Modric, who is still chief string puller at Real Madrid and for his country, he's 50/1 to repeat his best player award at the World Cup which underlines Croatia's challenge this time around. Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic and Nikola Vlasic will provide the midfield control while Ivan Perisic will be a big attacking threat.

Perisic (80/1) is their shortest price in the top scorer market after his three goals in the World Cup, and although he's not a certain starter, Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric was in sparkling form this season with 25 goals in 34 games for the German side.

Ball control is everything for this side, with Modric and plenty of ball players in midfield looking to dictate play and set the tempo.

Their main attacking comes from out wide but their priority is keeping the opposition off the ball as long as possible.

Absence of prolific striker will hold them back

A tricky team to get a handle on, they've got plenty of ability but haven't had much joy against top sides like France and Portugal recently with the absence of a prolific striker perhaps their major downfall. It's 8/5 on the England-Croatia straight forecast and that looks about right. They could wriggle beyond the last 16 but reaching the quarter-finals (6/4) looks to be about their limit.

Back Croatia to reach the quarter-finals @ 6/4

Scotland can win opener and possibly progress

Back in this event for the first time since Euro 96 and their first major tournament since the France 98 World Cup, it's easy to write off the Scots after they scraped in via two penalty shoot-outs, and many have, but it may not be that simple.

Two games in Glasgow could give them a huge advantage, including what could be the crucial opening fixture against the Czech Republic, who they have beaten in their last three meetings including home and away in last year's Nations League. The Czechs did have huge coronavirus problems for one of those games though.

Nevertheless, with 12,000 fans behind them, the 21/10 on a Scottish win in the opener could be a gift.

They're also surprisingly unbeaten against Croatia in five meetings - the last coming in 2013. You'd be hard pressed to justify putting them above the top two here, but pinching third (9/5) is a distinct possibility.

McGinn the class operator

Two of Steve Clarke's best players are left-backs but he has changed formation to get both skipper Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney in the same side, using the Arsenal man as a third centre half and left of a midfield three.

John McGinn is the class operator in this squad though and anything good that comes from this team will go through him. He's got set piece delivery, an eye for a pass and a goal and runs the midfield while setting up attacks - he'll be the man to watch for the Scots.

Ryan Christie and Ryan Fraser offer decent goal threats, with Fraser scoring in his last two Scotland games, but along with being star man, John McGinn is also the top scorer in this squad having scored seven in 10 during Euro 2020 qualifying and three in three World Cup qualifiers.

Don't expect goals

Scotland won't score too many, they'll be hard working, compact and look to nullify the opposition before looking to pinch the odd goal here and there. They went nine games unbeaten under Clarke to qualify so could be tough to break down. There have been five 1-0s either way in their last nine games.

Third place looks the bet

They're in a battle with the Czech Republic for third place, and if a winner in that first game between the two could be enough - as Northern Ireland and eventual winners Portugal progressed with three points in 2016. They didn't get out of the group in 1992 or 1996, but in their third Euros it could be third time lucky.

They're 10/11 to qualify, but that will depend on results in the other groups - but the 9/5 to finish third looks a decent bet with an opening win in front of a home crowd well within their grasp.

Back Scotland to finish third in Group D @ 9/5

Czechs set to lose battle with Scots for third place

They suffered a 5-0 hammering by England at the start of qualification but avenged that with a 2-1 win over Gareth Southgate's side so will not be overawed by facing them again in this group.

The Euro 96 semi-finalists also have fond memories of a tournament in England, while since the Czech Republic was created they've qualified for all six Euros so they're old hands at all this.

Jaroslav Silhavy's side will provide stubborn opposition but are a bit of a mixed bag, having drawn with Belgium and battered Estonia 6-2 while also losing against Wales, Scotland, Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Soucek and Schick can star

Tomas Soucek has been a revelation at West Ham and he'll be a driving force from midfield, where he usually sits a bit deeper for the Czechs, but is still a big goal threat when arriving into the box, and also a big set piece danger. He got 10 goals for the Hammers and has had a hat-trick during World Cup qualification.

Bayer Leverkusen's Patrik Schick bagged four goals in Euro 2020 qualifying and has goals in the big leagues with Roma and RB Leipzig. He will be the spearhead of the side and as a tall centre forward can cause problems in the air as well.

Goals a concern

They've got 34 goals in the last 21 games but 15 of those came in the only four games where they scored more than twice, and in big games against better opposition they can struggle to find the net.

Soucek sits deep usually behind two other central midfielders to offer a solid base to limit the damage and given their opponents in this group then the 10/1 on them being the lowest scorers in the competition isn't the worst bet in the world.

Back Czech Republic to be lowest scorers @ 10/1

Opening defeat may set the tone

A qualifying win over England and happy memories from Euro 96 means this will hold no fear for the Czechs, but they lack the quality to go too far. They'll fight it out with Scotland for third, they're also 9/5 to bag that spot, but that first game in Glasgow in front of fans could be the decider - the 13/10 on them finishing bottom looks the way to go.

Back Czech Republic to finish bottom of Group D @ 13/10

Group E Betting Preview

Will ruthless Enrique make Spain kings of Europe again?

Can good vibes and team spirit get Sweden to last eight...and beyond?

Is Sousa the man to get the best out of Lewandowski for Poland?

Defensive Slovakia won't win hearts and minds but can they accumulate points?

Tips, Analysis and Best Bets by Mark O'Haire

Spain aiming to be champions again

Following three successive major tournament failures, Spain needed a shake-up. The Spanish federation felt Champions League-winning coach Luis Enrique was the right face to oversee a much needed reboot. On the day of his appointment in July 2018, the former Barcelona boss confirmed dead-faced that Euro 2020 success was top of his priority list.

It's been more evolution than revolution during Luis Enrique's punctuated reign with La Roja venturing away from a possession-centric approach. Sure, Spain still like to dominate the ball, but the Iberians are also happy to go direct, attack with greater intensity and dynamism. In defence, the 2008 and 2012 continental champions are also pressing higher up the field.

Results have largely impressed, even if consistency has at times been lacking. November's sensational 6-0 shellacking of Germany in the Nations League showcased La Roja in all their glory - speed, precision, aggression - yet an uninspiring 1-1 stalemate with Greece followed during March's World Cup qualifiers, as well as a sketchy 2-1 triumph over Georgia.

No Ramos, no problem?

Preparation for the tournament has also been overshadowed by Luis Enrique's surprise decision to axe skipper Sergio Ramos from the squad. There was also no call for Los Blancos team mate Nacho Fernandez and with no Real Madrid player making the 24-man roster, the Spanish press have understandably reacted with anger and exasperation.

Ramos' absence leaves behind an inexperienced international backline that causes obvious concern, yet Rodri, Sergio Busquets and Koke are on-call to provide protection from midfield. Ferran Torres could be handed a key role in the front three with Alvaro Morata hoping to deliver the ruthless finishing touch that's occasionally alluded the Iberians.

If Spain are to be successful, Morata will likely play a prominent role, but the Juventus striker's inconsistent performances could work against him in Luis Enrique's ruthless team selections.

Instead, Manchester City starlet Ferran Torres is favourred to impress at much meatier quotes in the Top Goalscorer market, as well as in the Young Player of the Tournament offering. The 21-year-old smashed a hat-trick in La Roja's famous 6-0 downing of Germany and has racked up six international goals in only 10 appearances for the senior side.

Back Ferran Torres to be Young Player of the Tournament @ 9/1

England likely QF opponents

Regardless, Spain are expected to take top honours in a reasonable pool. La Roja have been turned over just three times in competitive games since the 2018 World Cup, scoring at least twice in 70% of their 23 meaningful matches. Meanwhile, only Belgium (76%) boast a better Expected Goals (xG) ratio than Spain (74%) during the same sequence.

Playing all three group games in Seville gives the hosts an extra edge and should Spain finish top of the tree in Group E, a third-place nation awaits in the last-16. If the market plays out as expected, an encounter with England in the last eight awaits and from there La Roja will feel as confident as any that continental glory can be achieved.

Back Spain to win Euro 2020 @ 7/1

Sweden enter Euros in good mood

Sweden head into the European Championships in buoyant mood. The Blue-Yellow's quarter-final exit at the 2018 World Cup was the Scandinavian nation's best display at the top table of international football since a memorable third-place finish in 1994. Head coach Janne Andersson remains in situ and the side has progressed over the past three years.

In the aftermath of the World Cup, Sweden won their inaugural Nations League group ahead of Turkey and Russia, and went on to suffer a solitary reverse during the Euro 2020 preliminaries against Spain. In truth, 2020 wasn't completely convincing but a maximum point haul from the start of World Cup qualifiers in March has again raised spirits.

Berg at the head of Sweden's 4-4-2

Of course, the traditional 4-4-2 system that's become synonymous with the Swedish sides is still deployed with pragmatic Andersson keen for the Blue-Yellow to home in on the age-old traits of tactical discipline, defensive organisation, aggression and set-piece efficiency. The compact formation focuses on neutralising opponents and being direct in attack.

The centre-backs are solid with Victor Lindelof anchoring the defence, whilst work horse Albin Ekdal allows the more expressive Kristoffer Olsson to take up the box-to-box role in midfield. Emil Forsberg is a key component from the left with 35-year-old Sebastian Larsson still earning his stripes when called upon by Andersson from the opposite flank.

In attack, Sweden would have been banking on pairing Dejan Kulusevski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic together. However, with the latter ruled out through injury, veteran Marcus Berg is tipped to lead the line with the exciting Aleksander Isak in competition with Kulusevski for a starting berth in the forwardline. The latter could reward goalscorer bets.

Sweden's industrious set-up relies on the collective rather than any redeeming individual, but Isak (80/1 to be Top Goalscorer) appears overpriced if the Real Sociedad striker is given the nod from the off.

Back Aleksander Isak to be top goalscorer each-way @ 80/1

The Scandinavians look capable of finishing in the top-two and will be awkward opponents during the knockout stages.

Last eight looks plausible

It's a functional rather than flashy side undergoing a degree of transition as the Blue-White begin to blood an exciting emerging batch of youngsters. Capable of competitive efforts against elite opposition, Sweden will be difficult to dismiss and deserve their position as second favourites in Group E. Potential dark horses, they are 23/10 for a run to the quarter-finals, which looks plausible.

Poland turn to Sousa for Euros bid

For the first time in their history, Poland have qualified for a third major tournament in succession. The Eagles exited Euro 2016 at the quarter-final stage before a desperate effort at the World Cup two years later saw the Red-White eliminated before their final pool fixture.

Head coach Adam Nawalka was dismissed, and Jerzy Brzeczek brought in to spark life back into the national side. The team made modest moves in the right direction, securing qualification with only one defeat to their name, recording seven shutouts in 10 fixtures and shipping just five goals. Yet the atmosphere was turning sour in and out of the senior set-up.

Supporters and media became tired and disillusioned with Brzeczek's negative tactics - only Ukraine topped their section with fewer goals - and star attraction Robert Lewandowski was growing increasingly frustrated by his lack of impact and service.

The Bayern Munich superstar was on the scoresheet in only one of the eight games Poland played in autumn 2020 and something clearly had to give. The Polish FA relieved Brzeczek of his duties in January and soon appointed Paulo Sousa, a journeyman coach but with a reputation for attacking football, and a promise to unshackle Lewandowski.

Sousa still searching for best mix

So where are Poland now? The World Cup qualifiers in March produced mixed results, although a spirited second-half performance against England at Wembley without Lewandowski gave cause for hope. The Eagles certainly played more on the front-foot, pressed out of possession and implemented a higher defensive line.

Sousa seems keen to partner skipper Lewandowski with Arkadiasz Milik up top with gifted Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski taking on the creative role, even if he's rarely found his best form for the Red-White. Elsewhere, the Portuguese tactician is still unclear whether a three or four-man defence will provide Poland with their best opportunity for success.

Progression expected but schedule is unkind

With only eight nations leaving the summer party early, progression is the minimum expectation on Sousa's side.

However, Poland must navigate an inconvenient pool-stage schedule that entails travelling from Saint Petersburg to Seville and back, as well as enduring a day's less rest before locking horns with Sweden in a potentially decisive third fixture.

The attitude in camp might be more positive but ultimately, it's hard to see the current Polish crop making major inroads beyond the first knockout stage.

While quotes of 25/1 may catch the eye, swerve Robert Lewandowski in the Top Goalscorer betting. While he is the planet's most complete centre-forward and spearheads Poland's challenge, and Sousa's forward-thinking approach should lend itself to the Bayern Munich man's strengths, the Eagles are unlikely to go deep in the tournament or hack up during Group E encounters.

Slovakia's stats are worrisome

Expected Points (xP) projections based off pre-tournament match prices forecast Slovakia to finish bottom in the Group E. The Falcons have posted a negative W8-D5-L10 return in competitive contests since September 2018, failing to score in 35% of those encounters and generating a worrisome 0.88 Expected Goals (xG) per-game average.

No competing nation at Euro 2020 ranks below Slovakia in any of those metrics, and the despondent mood and malaise surrounding the Repre suggests chunky odds of 9/5 on Stefan Tarkovic's troops advancing further than the group-stage are justifiable.

Ultra defensive formation will not excite

Slovakia failed to qualify automatically, finishing behind Croatia and Wales in their preliminary pool, pocketing a solitary point against the top-two finishers. Instead, the Falcons squeezed through the Nations League back door after beating Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland in tightly-contested play-offs.

Between the two knockout ties, Slovakia made the audacious decision to dismiss head coach Pavel Hapal. Tarkovic was brought into the fold in the hope of inspiring an improved performance, but the Repre have failed to ignite with the current incumbent generally fielding a variant of 4-5-1 that involves packing the midfield and waiting for counter-attacks.

A lack of attacking full-backs has restricted tactical options and formations, whilst Vladimír Weiss' recall has been designed to alleviate some of the creative burden on Marek Hamsik's shoulders. Even at 33, the now Gothenburg playmaker remains indispensable for Slovakia, operating in a free role behind a solitary forward, likely to Robert Bozenik.

A strikerless system (4-6-0) has also occasionally been employed with Slovakia using their wingers and attacking midfielders as false nines, while still packing the midfield.

Just scoring a goal would be a success

So don't expect fireworks. Entertainment could be thin on the ground when following the Falcons this summer, as for all their respective negativity, the landlocked nation do boast a degree of quality in defence. Inter centre-half Milan Skriniar, Napoli shield Stanislav Lobotka and tireless Milan midfield Juraj Kucka at least provide the Repre with a solid spine.

Slovakia have typically thrived when written off and will look to the 2010 World Cup for inspiration ahead of the competition but realists will point to their difficult to disguise flaws as reason to oppose the Repre. Just getting on the scoresheet this summer could be a source of success and an early exit looms.

Group F Betting Preview

Will Mbappe grab Golden Boot en route to glory with France?

Does a talented new generation plus Ronaldo make Portugal contenders?

Can Germany help Low go out on a high?

Are home games Hungary's only hope in Group of Death?

Tips, Analysis and Best Bets by James Eastham

Anything less than the final four would be a failure for France

Nothing matters more to Didier Deschamps than winning so it's little surprise he's relied on the team that triumphed at the 2018 World Cup when piecing together his plans for the summer.

No fewer than eight members of the starting XI that triumphed in Russia three years ago are expected to be in the starting XI again this time.

France's favoured formation is 4-2-3-1, with minimal variations during the game. If Adrien Rabiot starts, the system will be a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 hybrid, the Juventus star shuttling between central midfield and the left wing.

If Kingsley Coman or Ousmane Dembele start, the 4-2-3-1 will be more conventional, with greater pace and verve on the flanks.

The defensive unit that kept four clean sheets in seven games en route to victory in Russia remains largely intact. Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez will start; only Presnel Kimpembe comes in, replacing Samuel Umtiti.

N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba form the engine room again. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe remain key in attack; only this time, Karim Benzema, rather than Olivier Giroud, will play alongside them.

Fervour surrounds the Real Madrid striker's return. He, Griezmann and Mbappe are so intelligent the attacking trident should quickly gel, and thrive. Yet Giroud's tactical importance in recent seasons should not be underestimated. France lose some final-third presence without him. The Chelsea striker will remain important off the bench.

The understudies are weaker than France backers would have you believe. Coman and Dembele are mercurial rather than reliable; midfield cover beneath Kante and Pogba is thin. So powerful is the starting XI, however, that France will excel as long as key players avoid injury and suspension.

Mbappe the man but Benz the bet?

If France go deep in the tournament, expect les Bleus to provide at least one Golden Boot contender. With their star-studded front line containing Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, the stumbling block is that the trio of attackers may split the goals between them, denying any one of the three a chance in the Top Goalscorer market.

The trio are 9/1, 11/1 and 20/1 respectively. Griezmann won the Euro 2016 Golden Boot. As the team's designated penalty-taker and outsider of the three, he may represent the best value, although his recent record from the spot has been unimpressive.

All three will attract attention in the UEFA Best Player of the Tournament market, too. Mbappe is the 7/1 favourite. Griezmann is 14/1 third favourite, Benzema a 33/1 shot. After so many years in the wilderness, the Real Madrid striker is determined to shine and must represent the value of the trio.

Back Karim Benzema to be Player of the Tournament @ 33/1

Hard to pin French system down

How will les Bleus play? As paradoxically as ever. 'Dour' and 'pragmatic' were words associated with the team as they won in Russia.

Yet France scored 14 goals in seven games. Twice in the knock-out phase they netted four times - 4-3 vs Argentina in the Round of 16, 4-2 vs Croatia in the final.

Deschamps is pragmatic, not defensive: he'll do what it takes to win. If France fall behind, he'll let his players off the leash to reclaim the lead. If, as in the World Cup semi-final against Belgium, they need a defensive display to secure a narrow victory, so be it.

For all their individual attacking flair, France's real strength is the team's ability to alter its approach - a tweak here, a step back there, 10 minutes of super-charged attacking - depending on the game state. Theirs is a rare intelligence and experience.

Potential winners? Certainly. Anything less than a semi-final place would be unfitting of this side. France are 5/1 tournament second favourites, a status they fully deserve.

Back France to win Euro 2020 @ 5/1

Portugal deserve more respect than the betting suggests

Are Portugal Euro 2020's most underrated side? They're only seventh favourites to lift the trophy, a lowly ranking that makes little sense.

O Selecao are the current European Championship and UEFA Nations League holders. Yet, according to the market, England - yes, England - a moderate Spain and mediocre Germany all have a better chance of triumphing this summer.

Available at 9/1 on the Sportbook, Portugal are an unfathomably large 12.0 on the Exchange to retain their title despite the presence in their squad of the Premier League Football Writers' Footballer of the Year, two other Champions League finalists, arguably the best no.10 in Europe and one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Take the price while you can. The odds on Portugal winning the tournament - or making the final or semi-final, looking at other markets of particular interest - are worth your consideration.

Back Portugal to win Euro 2020 @ 9/1

Talent from front to back

Who's the star man? Cristiano Ronaldo, of course. His importance to the team is symbolic, yet his importance remains current. He has five goals in his last 10 appearances, and should add more this summer.

Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva ought to shine. Each has enjoyed an excellent season at a Manchester club. Both are automatic starters for their country. Expect the duo to delight between the lines.

The defence is as strong as the attack. Pepe and Ruben Dias form as good a centre-back pairing as you'll see this summer.

Fully able to grind out a win

Pragmatic flair imbues this side. A hard-working 4-3-3, Portugal strike a balance between obduracy and grandeur few can match.

Winning trumps entertainment. Famously, Portugal secured just one 90-minute victory in seven fixtures en route to lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy five years ago.

They scored just nine goals in those seven matches. Yet they were crowned champions. Triumphing without dominating is now part of this nation's footballing DNA.

There are concerns. Ronaldo's one of only two players - the other being Andre Silva - that has scored 10 or more international goals.

Diogo Jota may be the solution. He has scored six in his first 12 appearances.

As part of a fluid front three featuring Ronaldo and (at any one time) Andre Silva, Joao Felix, Goncalo Guedes or even Bernardo Silva, Liverpool striker Jota might star.

For some reason manager Fernando Santos has selected only three centre-backs. Veteran Jose Fonte - a Ligue 1 title winner with Lille - is the only cover for Pepe and Dias. Portugal may get away with it. Yet it's still odd.

Strengths outnumber weaknesses. Only France can claim with any confidence to have a more complete squad or starting XI.

Without question Portugal are potential winners. Anything other than a last-four place would be an underachievement and they deserve more respect than the market is affording.

Germany look unusually shaky

Can a side that loses 6-0 lift the trophy when a major international tournament comes around six months later?

No. Hence Germany are not potential Euro 2020 champions.

They lost 6-0 in Spain in November 2020. Three-nil down at halftime, Germany were no better after the break.

Manuel Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos were all on duty that night. You can hardly blame a lack of experience.

Germany's 1-2 home defeat to North Macedonia two months ago was even more embarrassing, laying bare their shortcomings as Euro 2020 approached.

Nothing in Germany's form figures or make-up suggests a line-up on the verge of being crowned European champions.

Hummels and Muller add strength but weaknesses remain

Joachim Low's squad - his last before stepping down from the manager's role - contained some surprises.

He recalled Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller having previously banished them from the set-up.

It's a smart move. The pair will add much-needed quality to a side short on class.

Without Muller, would the side have a reliable source of goals? Serge Gnabry, perhaps. Timo Werner? The jury's out.

Kevin Volland has enjoyed an excellent season with Monaco. With just one international goal to his name, he's the attacking secret weapon.

Midfield is the side's strong point. Gundogan, Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka. However Germany line-up, they will be competitive in the centre of the pitch.

But the defence isn't good enough. Hummels and his 70 caps aside, where are the players of international standing? On whom can Germany rely to shut out the opposition?

Antonio Rudiger has had a good season at Chelsea. The presence of Borussia Monchengladbach's Matthias Ginter and Bayern's Niklas Sule will leave top opposition strikers unconcerned.

Defensive frailties will inform how Germany play. Expect an attacking edge through necessity: unable to keep clean sheets, goals - and plenty of them - will be paramount.

An unappealing bet - take them on!

Germany are tournament fifth favourites but at 8/1 on the Sportbook (each-way bets paid at half the odds if they lost the final) or even a straight win bet at 9/1 on the Exchange, they are an unappealing bet.

They are in Group F, the Group of Death. Qualifying in third place behind France and Portugal would increase the chances of a more challenging route through the knock-out phase.

Back Germany to finish third in Group F @ 16/5

At some stage, they'll meet a better side. Even before that, their defence may crack.

Low's been a tremendous manager for Germany. But his swansong will be an inglorious one. This Germany isn't built to parade the trophy.

Hungary are doomed

Sometimes the outsider can defeat the odds and escape the Group of Death.

But not this time. Hungary have landed the worst possible draw. France, Portugal and Germany: how do you get past that lot?

You don't. Hungary are rank outsiders in Group F. It's impossible to make a case for them.

There's some talent in their ranks. Captain and striker Adam Szalai, of Mainz, has 23 goals in 70 international appearances. The five-strong Ferencvaros contingent gained top-level experience, plus bags of confidence, from the club's first foray into the Champions League group stages in 25 years this season.

Home games are an advantage

Home advantage may work in their favour. Hungary are hosts - against Portugal in their opening game, on June 15, and versus France, on June 19 - in two of their three group matches.

Playing those fixtures at the Puskas Arena before they travel to Munich to face Germany in their final group game increases their chances of nicking a point.

Against three giants of the global game, nicking a point may be as much as Marco Rossi's side can muster. Hungary are 16/5 to reach the knock-out phase.

Even taking into account that the best third-placed teams going through, those odds are unappealing.

The 2/9 available on Hungary in the Group F 'Rock Bottom' market - to prop up the group - while very short odds, would be a more sensible investment.

In a 24-team tournament, certain nations make up the numbers. Hungary are set to be among them this summer.