When it comes to major international football tournaments, people like to dub the toughest group “The Group of Death”. Well, for Euro 2016, that moniker goes to Group D.
Spain, Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic are set to provide us with a footballing feast during the group stage and there is value aplenty when it comes to backing a winner out of this quartet of quality.
The Spanish have won the Euros each of the last two tournaments and will certainly have a large target on their backs early and often in France. Trouble is, the other three members are all capable of winning the group so Spain, despite being the faves, have their work cut out for them.
We take a look at the odds to win Group D at Euro 2016 with odds coming from online shop Bodog.
The three-time winners are going through a bit of a transition at the international level. Players like Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Iker Casillas, David Silva, Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos are on the backend of their international careers. Waiting in the wings, however, is a slew of talented youngsters that are ready to leave their legacy in the famed red shirt.
Still, the Spanish looked like the Spain of old as they cruised through Group C qualifying, collecting 27 points with nine wins and just one defeat. They totaled 23 goals and conceded just three in a group which included fellow Euro 2016 participants Slovakia and Ukraine.
Valencia’s Paco Alcácer paced Spain in qualifying with five goals; tying Slovakia’s Marek Hamšik for the group lead.
A win in France would give Spain the most Euro championships (four) and they are currently near the top of the oddsboard at +500 at online book Bodog. It’s not the same side we’ve been watching down the years, but Spain has all the experience needed to win another major trophy.
Croatia is a two-time quarterfinalist (1996, 2008) and provides plenty of value to win the group. The midfield especially should be an absolute delight to watch as it features star talent like Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perišić and Mateo Kovačić.
Vatreni qualified as runners-up in Group H finishing with 20 points, sitting second behind Italy’s 24. Perišić in particular was firing on cylinders during qualifiers as the Inter man recorded six goals to lead the group.
Playing in tough groups is nothing new to Croatia as they just missed advancing in the 2012 tournament in a group with Spain, Italy and Ireland and missed out escaping the group stage in the last World Cup as they were placed with Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon.
On paper, the team looks like it is is just too good to falter once again. But, as we all know, they don’t play the games on paper.
Turkey has already had a hell of a time getting to Euro 2016 and is no stranger to adversity. The Turks qualified as the best third-place team, finishing behind the Czech Republic and Iceland, but ahead of the Netherlands in an extremely tough Group A.
The Turks mustered 18 points in that tough qualifying group; just two points back of Iceland and four back of winners Czech Republic.
Turkey was a semifinalist back in 2008 and did not qualify in 2012, so they would hope to rebound from that poor showing when Euro was joint-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Most of the squad plays domestically in the Turkish Super Lig, but those that play elsewhere look to be the ones that will carry this side. Keep your eyes on Barcelona’s Arda Turan, Borussia Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin and Bayer Leverkusen’s Hakan Çalhanoglu; three fantastic players that will be instrumental if this side is to advance from a challenging Group D.
Czech Republic (+1000)
Finally, in this incredibly deep group, we have the Czech Republic. As mentioned, the Czechs came out on top in a strong qualifying group with 22 points over the likes of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands.
Perhaps strangely, the Czechs were not a tidy defensive unit during qualification and managed to win the group despite allowing 14 goals in 10 games and bagging just 19 of their own.
The Czechs will be led by keeper Petr Čech, who is coming off a brilliant campaign with Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League. The helmeted one has the most caps in the nations’ history (121) and despite being 34, is putting in some of his best work between the sticks.
This is hands down the toughest group at Euro 2016 and any one of these sides possess the quality to win the group. Good luck picking this one.
Odds as of June 9 at Bodog
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