After missing a hatful of golden chances in both Holland’s fixtures thus far, Arsenal striker Robin van Persie finally got his Euro 2012 campaign underway by grabbing what turned out to be merely a consolation in the 2-1 defeat to Germany.
One goal normally leads to another for the top front men, though, and the 28-year-old is certainly in that bracket – so bwin’s odds of 9/2 for the Arsenal man to bag the first goal of tonight’s crunch game against Portugal are extremely generous.
Lack of confidence is not a trait that Van Persie suffers from and that’s probably just as well for the Dutch, who have been pretty insipid so far at this tournament.
If this was the case, then surely the four or five gilt-edged opportunities that the Oranje’s lone striker had passed up would have led to him shirking responsibility and going missing in matches.
However, Van Persie showed his class (and character) as he picked the ball up outside the German box and rifled a shot home on his so-called weaker right foot.
The solitary goal, regardless of how good it was, will not make up for those missed chances, but you can guarantee that the Dutch forward will be doing his utmost to put it right against Portugal.
With this in mind, as well as a punt on Van Persie opening the scoring, it must be worth backing him to net in the 90 minutes at odds of 6/5.
Should Van Persie score during the match at these odds, punters would win £55 if they back him with the £25 free bet on offer for registering with bwin.
Van Persie’s goal, regardless of how good it was, will not make up for those missed chances, but you can guarantee that the Dutch forward will be doing his utmost to put it right against Portugal.
With Portugal probably only needing a point to secure qualification for the knockout stage (if Germany continue to play in the same manner as their previous two Euro 2012 matches, then they should defeat Denmark), they will more than likely take to the field with a little more caution and try to keep things tight early on.
Playing on the counter-attack will obviously suit Cristiano Ronaldo’s game and his pace could expose Holland’s shaky central defenders as the Dutch push for necessary goals.
As a result, I am sticking with the Portuguese captain and once again tipping him to grab a goal.
This has not been his tournament so far, but a class player cannot be kept down for too long and I expect the Real Madrid hitman to break his Euro 2012 duck in the Metalist Stadium on Sunday night.
Ronaldo is 5/1 to break the deadlock and 7/5 to score at any time. Both prices should tempt bwin customers, especially considering the last time these two sides met at a European Championship in 2004, Ronaldo scored Portugal’s first in a 2-1 victory.
If Portugal do play with a certain caginess to their game then set-pieces will be crucial.Therefore, as a longshot, a small bet on Pepe to score again after his goal against Denmark on Wednesday could prove to be profitable.
The fiery centre-half scored his third goal in Portugal colours when his bullet header rocketed past Stephan Andersen in the Danish goal and if Holland defend set-pieces as badly as they did against Germany, then the Real Madrid man could benefit.
A severe lack of marking saw German defender Holger Badstuber presented with a free header in the six-yard box which he somehow managed to miss when it looked easier to score.
If Pepe is left unmarked there is no way the ball will not end up in the back of the net before Maarten Stekelenburg has the chance to react.
Pepe is 22/1 to repeat his feat from Wednesday and score the first goal of the game. For the more wary punters, the odds on the Brazilian-born defender to just score at any time are 6/1.
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