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Three Euro 2020 dark horses worth wagering on

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

June 3rd, 2021

We are just days away from the much-delayed kickoff of Euro 2020. With the team selections now complete, let’s take a look at three undervalued teams that could make some noise not just in the group stage, but in the knockout stage as well.

Russia

Odds to finish top 2 in Group B: +170
Odds to finish top 4 overall: +800

Many people have forgotten the Russians made it to the World Cup quarter-finals on home soil in 2018, and finishing top-two in their group is well within reach as they will host two of their three group matches. Belgium is far and away the favorite to win the group, and are third-favorite to win the entire tournament, but Finland have never beaten the Russians, and they have enough talent to easily compete with Denmark.

Their back line is anchored by a trio of veterans who conceded just eight goals in 10 Euro qualifying matches—seven of which were scored by Belgium. They won eight of their qualifiers, conceding just once in that span. They also feature Denis Cheryshev of Valencia and Alexsandr Golovin of Monaco in attack, giving them enough firepower to compete with the Danes.

If they do finish second in the group, they could potentially have a path to the semi-finals in the tournament. They would likely face off with Turkey in the Round of 16 with either the Netherlands or Portugal likely meeting them in the quarter-finals. While it would be a longshot to get past there, Russia present solid value to be one of the last four standing.

Poland

Odds to finish to finish top 2 in Group E: +102

Any time you enter a tournament with the best forward in the world leading your attack, you become a side to be reckoned with. Robert Lewandowski is the reigning UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and is coming off breaking the Bayern Munich career scoring record with a 41-goal haul in the league this campaign.

Poland are not a one-man squad, though, as midfielder Piotr Zielinski of Napoli and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny of Juventus provide plenty of class in the spine of the squad, and Krzysztof Piatek provides some scoring punch of his own alongside Lewandowski.

Poland will be unlikely to make it deep into the tournament due to what would likely be a quarter-final matchup with France if everything plays out to form. However, they provide solid value to finish in the top half of their group. In the past year, they have played well against England and the Netherlands, losing by a goal to both. With Sweden missing star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, second place in the group behind Spain is there for the taking.

Italy

Odds to finish top four overall: +180
Odds to to win Euro 2020: +1100

The Italians have not lost a match since a 1-0 defeat to Portugal in September 2018, a run of 26 consecutive unbeaten. They have gone six straight without conceding a goal, and have not been held scoreless in their last seven. In their 10 matches since international play resumed last September, Italy have seven victories and have scored 20 goals while conceding just twice.

Roberto Mancini has brought in plenty of younger talent to complete a rebuild after their poor performances in the mid 2010s, and Italy was one of only two squads to win all of their Euro qualifiers. They are expected to easily win their group ahead of Switzerland and Turkey, and will look to get past the quarter-finals of an international tournament for the first time since World Cup 2014.

The biggest concern for Italy is their path to the finals. If Belgium and France both win their groups and advance through the group stage as expected, the Azzurri would face each side in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. That said, they present solid value to reach the semi-finals with a stout defense, an attacking mindset, and an experienced manager at the helm of an Italian renaissance.

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