Euro 2012 Golden Boot: - Group A Lowdown
With the European Championships slowly clicking into gear, Ben Cove picks out his runners and riders from Group A…
Greece: 5.50 to win the group, 2.30 to reach the last 16 and 75.00 to win the tournament.
Greece will rely heavily on goals from Georgios Samaras in their quest to emulate their shock victory in Euro 2004. But the Celtic striker isn’t having the best of times of late, as his measley total of just six SPL goals this season demonstrates.
In addition to this, he’s netted just seven times for his country in 52 caps. I don’t expect Greece to score many, and their long-haired hero is rightly determined as a long shot for the Golden Boot at 100.00.
Meanwhile, Samaras’ probable strike partner Theofanis Gekas, who has a more potent goalscoring record of 21 in 56 for his country, looks slightly better value at 100.00, but do consider that the 31-year-old has scored just one since October 2009.
Czech Republic: 4.50 to win the group, 2.10 to reach the last 16 and 60.00 to win the tournament.
Elsewhere in Group A, the Czech Republic must fancy their chances of making the knockout stages. Milan Baros, the former Liverpool, Villa and Portsmouth man, who won the Golden Boot at the 2004 Euros looks a tempting proposition despite entering these Championships at the age of 30. With the Czechs a sure bet to play at least four games, Baros at 100.00 could prove pretty decent value.
Poland: 4.00 to win the group, 1.85 to reach the last 16 and 60.00 to win the tournament.
Group A may be the least glamorous of the four pools, but as the hosts Poland will have a weight of expectation on their shoulders, with most of this weight shifted onto young striker Robert Lewandowski.
The 23-year-old has grabbed a goal in every other game for Dortmund over the course of the past two seasons, and notched an impressive 21 times this season. He’s likely to be in amongst the goals but a lot depends on the performance of his team mates, which is reflected in his Euro 2012 betting odds of 45.00.
Russia: 2.30 to win the group, 1.38 to reach the last 16 and 20.00 to win the tournament.
The final side in Group A are my ones to watch in the entire tournament: Russia. Led by Dick Advocaat, this efficient machine surprised many at the last Euros and will no doubt benefit from the rise of the nation’s domestic league of late, where their star men, Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko have recently returned to.
Arshavin, for all his whimpering at Arsenal, is a technically superb player who has shown an aptitude and passion for the international stage. He’s at 100.00, while former Spurs outcast Pavlyuchenko is half the price at 50.00, which is not bad considering his record of 20 in 45 for his country.