It’s hard to recall a major tournament where England have shouldered less expectation than this summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
A combination of Wayne Rooney’s suspension for the first couple of matches and the fact that Roy Hodgson will have been in place as manager for less than a month by the time his team kicks off against France a week on Monday,means that few people give the Three Lions much chance of success.
However, with a ready-made excuse for failure effectively in place, England will head to Eastern Europe with the pressure on them significantly reduced
But it’s the quality on the field in comparison to their main rivals that make England unappealing at 12/1 with Stan James for Euro 2012 glory.
Holders and world champions Spain head the betting with most bookies and it’s easy to see why. The way Vicente del Bosque’s team keeps the ball and unlocks defences with precise passing is a joy to watch and they will undoubtedly take some stopping. They are 11/4 at bet365, to retain the trophy.
William Hill’s 3/1 shots Germany possess an exciting blend of youth and experience and can call on one of the continent’s form strikers, Mario Gomez, although he hasn’t fired in his two previous major tournaments.
Another team with danger men up front are 2010 World Cup runners-up the Netherlands. Arsenal’s Robin van Persie has enjoyed a tremendous season for the Gunners while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke helped himself to a dozen goals in qualification for Bert van Marwijk’s side, who are Paddy Power’s 7/1 third favourites. The Dutch however, contest the so-called ‘group of death’ with Germany, Denmark and Portugal so they won’t find it easy.