U21 Euro Championship: England value to win Group A

4Jun 2013

Bet365 (2)

As Stuart Pearce finalises his side's preparations for an unrivalled fourth successive U21 Euro finals, Christian Crowther examines some of the tournament protagonists...

England have every reason to be bubbling with confidence ahead of this summer's edition of the U21 Euro Championships in Israel.

Not only do the Young Lions carry a formidable record from the last three editions of the biennial tournament - consisting of a semi-final and final appearance - their qualifying campaign was near flawless.

Nine victories and just one narrow defeat to Belgium in the qualification process earmarks this England side as serious contenders to go all the way. They are currently rated 7.0 fourth favourites to lift the trophy.

However, without getting too carried away just yet, it's probably best to look for value in England's group odds first as there are several other big hitters present, harbouring similarly impressive qualification records.

The two biggest threats, should England qualify from their group as expected, will be the reigning champions Spain 3.15 and their 2009 final conquerors Germany, who are 5.4 to be victorious.

The Spanish dropped just two points then thrashed Denmark in their play-off on the way to qualification, doling out 6-0 humblings to Croatia and Estonia en route, as well as dispatching Group 5 runners-up Switzerland 3-0 at home.

Led by the likes of Benfica striker Rodrigo, scorer of 14 goals while wearing the U21 jersey, and Malaga's much-sought-after attacking midfielder Isco, the Spaniards are a real force. Back that up with David de Gea between the sticks and Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara pulling the strings and it's easy to justify their tag.

Meanwhile, the Germans topped one of the two larger qualifying groups in similar fashion, racking up nine victories from 10, while plundering an incredible 39 goals. They then came through a tough play-off against Switzerland, adding weight to the current feeling that German football is poised for Spanish-style dominance for the next few years.

The great news for England is that neither side are in their group. Pearce's men are fortunate to have been allotted by far the easier group on paper, sharing Group A with Italy, hosts Israel and a Norway side whom they overcame twice in qualifiers.

Italy accrued two less points than the Lions in a similarly tricky qualifying group and, although the Azzurrini will provide a stern test, England's 2.3 price to win Group A has to be viewed as the value ahead of faves Italy at around 2.2.

This theory is backed up well by England's imperious form coming into the tournament, consisting of nine straight wins to nil across five qualifiers and four friendlies. While players such as Wilfried Zaha and Tom Ince provide the flair in this side, Jack Butland, Steven Caulker and Craig Dawson have made England a really tough nut to crack.

The Three Lions are 3.15 to get off to the perfect start in their first Group game against Italy on Wednesday.

Best Bet: Back England U21 to win Group A @ 2.3


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Keywords: U21 Euro Championship, England, value, Group A

Source: Bet365

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