Euro 2012 - Group C - Betting PreviewWorld Champions Spain are "seeded" in Group C, but will find that Italy and Croatia both have the ability to qualify as group winners and the Republic of Ireland can also cause an upset. Matches will be played in the Municipal Stadium, Poznań and PGE Arena, Gdańsk.
Spain were winners back in 1964 but then experienced a long international drought before finally winning again in 2008. Now as World Champions, and current European holders Spain are bidding to make it a hat-trick of Major Tournament wins.
Spain: 5/2 favourites for tournament, 4/9 to win Group and 1/7 to qualify
BetVictor will refund losing stakes on all outright market bets if Spain land the treble and that is magnificent insurance as at 5/2 the Spaniards remain the side to beat.
Spain were beaten in a one-sided friendly at Wembley back in November and will have to remain patient as other countries get 10-men behind the ball and attempt to frustrate, but the Spanish armada of world class players have the ability and strength-in-depth to make it three in a row in Kiev on 1st July.
Italy 14/1 for tournament, 3/1 to win Group and 1/2 to qualifyItaly's sole win in the European Championships came back in 1968 but the four-time World Champions are always respected despite not making it out of their group in the World Cup in South Africa two years ago.
Recent home defeats to Uruguay and the United States suggest the Azzurri are still a work in progress despite winning their group by 10 points; their fans will point to a 2-1 win against Spain in Bari last August as reason for optimism ahead of their opener against the holders on June 10th.
Mario Balotelli of English Champions Manchester City has been named in a provisional 32-man squad by coach Cesare Prandelli.
Croatia; 50/1 for tournament, 9/1 to win Group and 9/5 to qualifyFormer Everton and West Ham defender Slaven Bilic will step down as national team boss after the tournament fuelling speculation that we will soon see the 43-year-old back and managing a club side in the Premier League.
Croatia reached the quarter-finals four years ago when beaten by Turkey in a penalty shoot out and Spurs playmaker Luka Modric is likely to be key if they are to progress to the knock out stages.
Everton’s Nikica Jelavic, who has been outstanding for the Blues since leaving Rangers in January, is a surprise inclusion in the 27-man squad but the striker is not guaranteed to make the final cull to be made by Bilic later in the month.
Republic of Ireland; 100/1 for tournament, 18/1 to win Group and 4/1 to qualifyThis is only the second time the Irish have reached the Finals and, at first glance it is hard to see how Giovanni Trappattoni’s Irish side make it out of the Group stages but they will be difficult to beat.
Robbie Keane, so playing his football in the MLS in the United States remains the fulcrum of a team made up of solid if largely unspectacular Premier League players; Sunderland’s James McLean has been one of the finds of the season.
All odds are taken from BetVictor as at May 25th.