The first knockout stage of Euro 2016 looks to be the equivalent of Homer Simpson’s entirely chocolate dream world for double-chance bettors.
Aficionados of the aforementioned gamble need a very specific set of circumstances to throw up opportunities to indulge in their wager of choice.
Unappetisingly-short favourites, priced up more on reputation than how they have been playing and unlikely to win by much if they do prevail are the fulcrum.
Underrated underdogs capable of keeping their end up defensively are generally the accelerant.
Meetings between two such forces abound in the Euros fixtures to be played out over Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Here are five humdingers…
Chris Coleman’s men have yet to be cast in the role of possession hogs forced to break down less ambitious adversaries.
Norn Irn have already frustrated better all-round attacks than the Dragons’ in France and they’ve lost just twice in their last 15 outings, 1-0 in each case.
But for late, late interventions, Les Bleus would still be searching for their maiden victory, so extra-time is attainable for the Irish so long as concentration is maintained.
Don’t let their 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland fool you, this Belgium side are a far from fluent unit in attack and may struggle against one of the tournament’s less heralded surprise packages.
Suicidal defending played a part in all three Belgian strikes against the Irish, while they needed a long-range Radja Nainggolan effort to sneak past a dismal Swedish outfit last time out.
The Azzuri drew with their foes in March and have avoided defeat in five of their eight meetings with La Roja’s ‘golden generation’ since the start of 2008.
A late goal conceded by their second string in a dead (to them) rubber against Ireland last time is the only one they’ve given up in five matches.
The Three Lions have looked criminally short of finishing smarts so far in France.
It would no surprise if they were taken into extra time by a side that have forged their path with an admirable if unambitious brand of ultra-defensive football.