Sweden, looming in the distance as one of England’s Group D opponents at Euro 2012, qualified for the tournament as best runners-up and defeated Holland on the last day of qualifying to make it through to the finals.
They may not be the strongest team travelling to Poland and Ukraine, but they happen to find themselves in an open group where anything could happen.
With almost 2,000 betting markets currently on offer for anyone registering with bwin, I’ve taken the chance to pick out the best three ways to win with Sweden.
France/Sweden to be 1st/2nd in Group D (@ 19/2, free £25 bet wins £262.50)
France look the strongest team in Group D at the minute, even if they do have some worries in central defence and injury concerns in central midfield over the likes of Yann M’Vila.
Regardless, they’re coming into the tournament on a 21-game unbeaten run and have strong recent records against all three of their Group D opponents, let alone a young and dynamic squad.
I expect them to show their class and top the group, leaving second place up for grabs with England, Ukraine and Sweden all staking valid claims.
However, with Sweden’s excellent historic record against England – they have never lost a competitive international against the Three Lions – and with home advantage unlikely to be enough to lift Ukraine out of the group, Erik Hamren’s side could very well edge into second place and break English hearts once more. Bring back Sven, eh?
Sweden to record 4 points in Group D (@ 11/4, free £25 bet wins £93.75)
Following on neatly from the above, it could well transpire that Sweden win their opening game against Ukraine, then draw once more with England before succumbing to the French in the last game.
The four-point total could then see them qualify anyway as someone does a ‘Phil Neville’ over in Donetsk to send England packing… no odds are currently available on that one, mind you.
At a price of 11/4, the bookies make Sweden collecting four points the most likely scenario and who am I to argue with them?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to outscore Lukas Podolski (@ 9/5, free £25 bet wins £70)
Lukas Podolski has only scored three times for Germany in the last two years and those goals have hardly come against the strongest opposition.
The recent Arsenal signing scored in games against Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and in a 6-2 demolition of Austria back in September last year, but he is unlikely to find such generosity in the defences of his Group B opposition, particularly those of Denmark and Holland.
Podolski scored 19 goals in 31 appearances for club and country last season compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 33 goals in 44 games and although Ibra finds himself in a tough group, the sides facing Podolski appear a touch more resolute.
With this in mind – and the fact that Podolski’s price looks very short at 9/10 – a bet on the AC Milan forward to end the tournament with more goals could pay off handsomely.
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