European Championship Betting Guide: Saturday 6/19/21
It would be almost impossible to feature a more decorated group of teams in this Saturday’s fixture list at the 2020 European Championships.
After all, four of the six sides in action -- France, Portugal, Germany, and Spain -- have combined to win the last three FIFA World Cups and five of the last six Euros.
▪️2014 World Cup
▪️2019 Nations League
▪️2018 World Cup
These three teams, who between them have won everything there is for them to win in International football since 2014, are all in one group at #Euro2020pic.twitter.com/0Ejfrbx7Vg
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 15, 2021
But will these superpowers take a step closer to another major triumph with success on the final day of Matchday 2? Or will an upstart like Hungary or Poland put those hopes in doubt?
For insight on what to expect in these matchups, read on. Plus, be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for all the odds on Euro 2020 and more.
Hungary vs. France
Puskas Arena | Budapest, Hungary | 9am ET
The Pick: France -350
In a matchup that features the tournament favorites against a side currently +10000 to raise the trophy, it would be a bold choice to back the underdogs in the first match of this weekend.
For the sake of the exercise, however, let’s make the case for Hungary.
The Magyars might be coming off a 3-0 defeat to world No. 5 Portugal on Tuesday, but they did keep Cristiano Ronaldo and company at bay for 84 minutes before the Seleçao attack finally found a way past Péter Gulásci…albeit via a deflection, a penalty, and a goal which could’ve been ruled offside.
True, Marco Rossi’s men were under fire for large portions in that contest -- they spent 40% of the match defending in their own third and just 15% at the opposition’s end -- but while they managed only five attempts on goal, three were on target, and they nearly scored with each.
The fact Hungary played as well as they did against the defending Euro champions isn’t all that surprising; despite struggling through qualifying with a .500 record and a minus-3 goal difference, the team had rebounded to post an 11-game unbeaten streak over the 12 months prior to these Euros.
That uptick in form, the confidence from hanging with the world’s best, and the support from a raucous crowd of 67,000 at the Puskas Arena -- the only ground in this tournament at full capacity -- could make this match a tighter contest than the odds might suggest.
Now this is what football should look like pic.twitter.com/2qJ26y62We
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2021
France, of course, are the reigning world champions and the second-ranked team on the planet, and they looked the part in a 1-0 win over Germany in Munich on Tuesday.
All the statistics might suggest that Didier Deschamps' side were outplayed -- they lost the possession battle 59% to 41%, were outshot 10-4, and only played in the German third of the pitch for 19% of the match -- but bear in mind they took the lead in the 20th minute and were more than content to defend and counter the rest of the way.
That strategy resulted in an additional pair of French goals that were eventually overruled by VAR by the slightest of margins but were a reminder of just how potent Les Blues can be when in full flow.
It should be a crime to disallow a goal this good pic.twitter.com/wT08BjFxnB
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2021
Then there’s this: a win would put France in the knockout stages, while anything less, and their Matchday 3 contest against Portugal potentially becomes a must-win.
In short, France are on-form, motivated, and -- quite frankly -- the much better team.
Don’t overthink this one.
Portugal vs. Germany
Football Arena Munich | Munich, Germany | 12pm ET
The Pick: Draw +220
The standout fixture of Matchday 2 features a pair of Group F heavyweights with a long history of meeting up in major tournaments.
Saturday’s confrontation in Munich marks the fifth time these two have played each other in the European Championships -- and the fourth occasion since 2000 -- but it’s their first duel in any competition since Germany’s 4-0 win over Portugal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage, the Iberians’ most-lopsided defeat in their World Cup history.
Of course, Die Mannschaft would go on to win a world title in Brazil that summer, but in the seven years that have passed since, the football fortunes of these two nations have gone in slightly different directions.
The Seleçao have won a major trophy -- Euro 2016 -- in addition to the 2019 UEFA Nations League, while Germany finished last in their group in the 2018 World Cup and have been ranked outside the top 10 in the FIFA world standings since.
Joachim Löwe’s men did threaten in their opener against France -- attempting 10 shots and spending 34% of the match in France's end -- but the 1-0 defeat wasn’t a fluke, and it marked the ninth game in a row versus a top-10 side that the Germans failed to win.
Still, that loss to Les Bleus was just the third defeat in the last 19 matches for the three-time European champions, and they’ll be desperate to get something out of this contest to keep their hopes of advancing alive.
Portugal have been in strong form, too. They’ve lost just once in the last two years, but as they’ve already got three points in the bag after Matchday 1, they need just a draw to be in position to advance.
With the home support behind them, Germany should be more apt to go for this, but a winnable game against Hungary is looming on Matchday 3, and that means a draw here would suit them, as well.
Spain vs. Poland
La Cartuja Stadium | Seville, Spain | 3pm ET
The Pick: Spain -300, Draw +390, Poland +700
The nightcap on Saturday features two teams from Group E who fell well short of expectations on Matchday 1.
Spain’s struggle to score in a 0-0 draw to Sweden has been widely mocked in the days since, while Poland were undone by a second-half sending off in their 2-1 loss to Slovakia, one of the tournament’s weakest teams.
Somewhat ironically, the numbers for both sides from those disappointing performances show a different story than the final scorelines indicate.
Both Spain and Poland registered 17 shots, had at least 69 official attacks, and spent 41% of gametime in their opponents’ third -- stats that are especially impressive when you consider Poland played the final half-hour of their match with 10 men.
So which side will build on those performances with better results on Matchday 2?
The case for Luis Enrique’s side is simple: they’re getting their captain back, they’re playing at home for the second match in a row -- while their opponent is traveling from Saint Petersburg, a 4,500-kilometer journey -- and they did everything but score in their opener against a Swedish team who pitched another shutout on Matchday 2.
17 - Spain had 17 shots in tonight's draw against Sweden, their highest tally in a major tournament game (European Championships + World Cup) without scoring since having 25 attempts against Switzerland in a group stage match at the 2010 World Cup. Stalemate. #EURO2020 #ESP #SWE pic.twitter.com/BbvT0vopUn
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 14, 2021
The case for the Orly is harder to make.
Poland may have had the lion’s share of the ball and the chances against Slovakia, but that certainly won’t be the case against a Spanish side that enjoyed 75% possession versus Sweden and completed an outrageous 852 passes at a completion rate of 89%.
To have success, Poland will have to be effective on the counter or on corners and free kicks, but Paulo Sousa’s charges aren’t known for their speed, and they went 0-14 on set pieces against Slovakia.
The Poles did win their Euro qualifying group convincingly -- 8-1-1, +13 goal difference -- and they do have the world’s best No. 9 in Robert Lewandowski leading their attack, but their qualifying opponents were some of the weakest in the field. And while the record-setting Bayern Munich striker has five goals for his country in eight games this year, he hasn’t gotten much goal support -- or consistent service -- from his teammates.
And, yes, Poland did reach the quarterfinals of Euro 2016 -- while Spain crashed out to Italy in the Round of 16 -- but this version of the Polish National Team hasn’t shown the ability to beat elite teams since that tournament, and as the sixth-ranked side in the world, Spain qualify in that category.
Add in the fact that La Roja carry a nine-game unbeaten streak into this match, while Poland have just one win in their last eight -- and that was over world No. 158 Andorra – and all signs point to a bounce-back Spanish victory in Seville.