Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 European Championships quick-fire thoughts

The 2012 European Championships start tomorrow. Baton down the hatches, it should be a terrific tournament. Here are some quick-fire thoughts on some of the forthcoming main topics of interest, and below those I have added a short column I wrote for BetDash on the opening weekend's games. Enjoy!

I can’t see past Spain, and Holland are absolutely stacked with stars. So, Spain v Holland it is. We can only assume it will be a better final than the World Cup. I am going to go for 2-1 Spain with a dramatic late winner.

Top scorer
So many quality players to choose from, where to start? There are literally over ten players you could easily see banging in the goals all tournament long. I am going to stick with Robin Van Persie, who has been other-worldly for Arsenal this season, and will have plenty of supply line to his golden boots.

Player to watch
I fancy Holland’s Wesley Sneijder for a major rebound from a terrible season with Inter Milan. Sneijder suffered along with his Inter team-mates however he is coming into form at just the right time. He is well rested too, after being injured and dropped on various occasions by Inter. The Dutch love him, with good reason, and I’ll be backing him to finish as player of the tournament. Just in case.

How far will England go?
Have you actually seen England play soccer lately? They were absolutely brutal in the second half against Norway, and have looked out of sorts for months. They are without Rooney for the first two games and their manager, Roy Hodgson, was sacked recently enough by Liverpool and is still reviled by their fans.  I love this attitude emanating from the English press that they can beat France. No, they can’t. France are a World Class side stacked with star quality. England have Andy Carol. I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't get out of the group. No advance!

How far will Ireland go?
I have said some bad things about Ireland recently, and have been called all manner of names. Let me get things straight, I love Ireland, and always have, however I do not love negative, defensive soccer, and never will. However, I am begrudgingly coming around to this scenario, draw with Croatia, whipped by Spain, and then qualify for second round with a shock win over absolutely useless Italian side (and then, knocked out!)

Most looking forward to:
UEFA have confirmed that there are 35,000 Irish fans traveling to the tournament (as opposed to 15,000 English fans). The atmosphere at Irish games will be absolutely amazing. And we’re not talking about 15,000 trained-seal-Miami fans in their Nuremberg-Rally like matching white t-shirts here, were talking 35,000 unique, colourful and knowledgeable Irish fans, who don’t need a pamphlet on when to clap (as they did in Miami). The Irish fans will be a sight to behold.

Least looking forward to:
I hope to be proved wrong here, but there will be more column inches in the press on the undeniable Ukrainian and Polish right-wing racist problem than there will be on Mario Balotelli, and that will take some doing!

Article for BetDash
Euro 12
It is finally here! One of the most anticipated tournaments in recent memory is about to explode like a Ronaldo free kick on our collective selves. This weekend sees six potentially cracking matches, and BetDash has you fully covered with a ridiculously wide variety of markets for each. BetDash tipster Mac takes a look at some of the standout action and suggests a few golden nuggets to boost your BetDash bankroll over the weekend.

The weekend games
The tournament kicks off on Friday with an interesting encounter between hosts Poland and former winners Greece. The hosts are hot favourites for the game, however this doesn’t appear to be based on much other than the home crowd and Robert Lewandowski (The hosts super striker). Poland haven’t played a competitive match in years, whilst unbeaten Greece topped their tricky qualification table.  

Russia and the Czech Republic are the Friday afternoon fare, and you can expect a low scoring affair, with both teams solid at the back, and frugal up front. Holland face Denmark first thing Saturday and the Dutch should be too powerful for the Danes, who may end up ‘just happy to be here’. Germany v Portugal should make for entertaining Saturday night viewing, the teams combined scored over 50 goals in qualification! Sunday starts with Spain taking on Italy, and if the latter’s 0-3 capitulation to Russia last week is anything to go by, Spain look the jollies here.

Finally, Ireland take on Croatia on Sunday night, and for both teams this is ‘the one they have to win’. The thing is, Italy might actually look a tasty proposition to each, so this might end up being a tense affair after all. What an incredible weekend of soccer action! Good luck and enjoy the games.

Recommended bets
  • Greece +1 handicap 4/5
  • Russia v Czech Republic under 1.5 goals  6/4
  • Russia v Czech Republic 0-0 correct score 11/2
  • Wesley Sneijder any time goal 13/5
  • Holland to score 2 or more 8/11
  • Germany to score 2 or more 10/11 * Nap!
  • Germany v Portugal over 2.5 goals 5/6
  • Spain to win 3/4
  • Ireland v Croatia draw 21/10


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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