The UEFA European Championship is often referred to as “The Euros.” It’s an international football (or soccer) tournament held every four years, to determine the continental champion of Europe. It’s the second most popular soccer event in the world, after the FIFA World Cup. The 2016 final drew a global audience of over 300 million people, generating record revenues for the tournament organizers.
Between the qualifying rounds and the multitude of matches in the tournament, the European Championship offers an incredible number of betting opportunities. Since soccer is probably thee most popular sport on the planet, you’ll be able to bet on this tournament at just about any sportsbook out there. To make things a little easier though, we have posted our top recommendations for you below.
You’ll also be able to find a list of the most common types of wager for European Championship betting, and some basic tips for betting on this tournament. Then there’s a brief review of the 2016 tournament, and a glance into the future with the 2020 installment. We end the article on a lighter note by taking a closer look at the biggest upsets in the history of this tournament.
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Betting Options for the Euros
If a wide range of wagering options appeals to you, then the European Championship will be just what you’re looking for. The qualifying phase alone provides countless betting opportunities, and that’s before the tournament itself even starts. The main event then features 24 teams and over 50 games, with even more bets to choose from. Here are ten of the most popular.
- Individual Match Result – The most popular Euros bet of all, this involves predicting the result of any individual game in the tournament. There are also many additional wagers available for each game, such as the first goal scorer and the correct score.
- Outright Tournament Winner – Another simple wager, where you must choose a single national team to leave the tournament with a victory.
- Group Winner – The first stage of the tournament is the group stage, with six groups of four teams. This wager involves picking the winner of any specific group.
- To Finish Second – This option allows you to predict which team will finish second in their group. Options also exist for third and fourth place.
- To Qualify – Here you must pick a team to qualify from their group for the round of 16.
- Top Goal-scorer – A wager on which player will score the most goals throughout the tournament.
- Name the Finalists – A challenging yet potentially profitable wager that requires you to name the two teams to reach the finals.
- Highest Scoring Team – The objective here is to pick the team with the most overall goals during the tournament.
- Winning Group – A wager on which group the winning team will come from.
- Player of the Tournament – A bet on who will win the desirable Player of the Tournament award.
Tips & Advice for Euros Betting
There’s no doubt that betting on the Euros can be an enjoyable experience! If you’re knowledgeable when it comes to soccer, then it can also be a great opportunity to make some money. Profits won’t come in with a snap of the fingers though. A great deal of time and effort will need to be put forth before any cash will come your way.
When it comes to betting on the Euros, know that there’s no correct approach or specific strategies that need to be used. Most of the strategies that you’d use for other soccer competitions and events will also apply to the Euros, so just do whatever you’re most comfortable with. The tips listed below, although are simple, might actually help.
- Watch the qualifiers – International soccer teams don’t play a lot of games outside of the tournaments, so it’s hard to form an opinion of how good they are. Watching the qualifiers is one of the best ways to get to know the teams better, which well help a lot when the Euros actually start.
- Do your research – Prior to the tournament, you should do as much research as possible. Try to get an idea of what kind of form the relevant players are in, what style each team prefers to play and the likely tactics that the managers will employ.
- Take advantage of offers and promotions – Most betting sites will run a variety of special offers and promotions before and during a European Championship. These can be a great way to boost your bankroll, so be sure to take full advantage.
- Spread your money around – You don’t want to invest your entire bankroll on just one or two wagers. Try to spread your risk, so that you cover more of the available opportunities.
- Don’t bet on every game – There are over 50 games played at a European Championship. Making money on each and every one of them won’t be possible. Be selective, and pick the games that offer the most value.
Euro 2016 Reviewed
Euro 2016 was held in France. The host nation was one of the favorites to win the tournament, along with Germany and Spain. Fans and pundits alike were mostly predicting the eventual champions to be one of these three teams. If they only knew how wrong they would be!
This was the first tournament using the newly expanded format. 24 teams were included, instead of the usual 16. They were divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group automatically qualifying for the round of 16. The four best third-placed teams were added into the mix too.
Group A was comprised of France, Albania, Switzerland and Romania. France was expected to easily come out on top, which they did no problem. They beat Romania and Albania before drawing with Switzerland. Switzerland came in second and also qualified.
In Group B there was England, Wales, Slovakia and Russia. England was the favorite to win the group, but they ended up in second place behind Wales. Russia had a very disappointing tournament and finished fourth with just one point. Slovakia qualified in third place.
Group C featured Germany, Poland, Northern Ireland and Ukraine. Germany won the group as anticipated. Poland placed second to go through automatically, while Northern Ireland unexpectedly came in third and qualified for the next round. Ukraine were disappointing and finished fourth without any points.
In Group D, we find Spain, Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Spain surprised many by only finishing in second place. Croatia topped the group, with Turkey in third and the Czech Republic in fourth.
One of the hardest groups to call was Group E, which consisted of Italy, Belgium, Republic of Ireland and Sweden. All four teams had a good chance of going through here, and three of them did. Only Sweden missed out, thanks to some disappointing performances from one of their star players: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The final group, Group F, featured Hungary, Iceland, Portugal and Austria. Portugal were widely tipped to qualify in first place, but they only just made it through after finishing third. Nobody expected Hungary to even qualify, but they surprised everyone and won the group. Equally surprising was Iceland in second place.
The eight games in the round of 16 went as follows.
- Portugal beat Croatia 1-0
- Wales beat Northern Ireland 1-0
- Poland beat Switzerland on penalties
- Belgium beat Hungary 4-0
- Germany beat Slovakia 3-0
- France beat Republic of Ireland 2-1
- Iceland beat England 2-1
- Italy beat Spain 2-0
Most of these games went as expected, but the big shock was Iceland beating England. Italy beating Spain was a little surprising too, although not to the same extent.
It was then onto the quarter-finals, which went as follows.
- Portugal beat Poland on penalties
- Wales beat Belgium 3-1
- Germany beat Italy on penalties
- France beat Iceland 5-2
The surprise result here was Wales beating Belgium, although Wales had been playing very well throughout the tournament. The other three games went pretty much as expected. Portugal then beat Wales in the first semi-final, and France won the second semi-final against Germany.
France was favored to win, but Portugal had Cristiano Ronaldo: who was expected to be a huge threat. Unfortunately, we never got to see his full potential, as he was substituted due to injury just 25 minutes into the game. Many people thought that would be the end for Portugal, but they stood their ground. At 90 minutes, the game was still goalless. In extra time, Eder gave Portugal the lead. That ended up being the only goal of the game, making Portugal the new European champions.
Even though there was a substantial amount of criticism associated with Euro 2016, it was still a memorable tournament. The new format certainly lead to each team taking a more defensive approach, which meant less tension during the group stages and fewer goals overall. Also, there did seem to be an increased amount of disruptive behavior combined with a lack of security. Regardless, there were plenty of exciting moments and some unexpected results. That’s all you can really hope for from an international soccer tournament.
Euro 2020 will be the 16th UEFA European Championship. It will also mark the 60th anniversary of the inaugural tournament. In recognition of this, the tournament won’t just be help in a single host country this year, but will instead be spread out all over Europe.
A total of 13 different cities, in 13 different countries, will host games during Euro 2020. Here’s a list of the stadiums that will be used for the group stages and the round of 16.
- Eurostadium in Brussels, Belgium
- Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark
- New Puskas Ferenc Stadium in Budapest, Hungary
- Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Republic of Ireland
- Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania
- Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland
- San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain
The following stadiums will also be used for the group stages, and for the quarter-finals too.
- National Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan
- Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany
- Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy
- Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia
The two semi-finals and the final will all be played in London, England, at Wembley Stadium.
Euro 2020 will follow the same format as Euro 2016, with 24 teams taking part. The qualification process will start in 2019, and all 55 UEFA national teams will compete for their places at the tournament. The host nation usually qualifies automatically, but since there’s no single host nation, that rule doesn’t apply here.
20 of the 24 available spots will be decided by the main qualifying process, while the remaining four will be decided by a playoff system based on finishing positions in the UEFA Nations League. We’ll update this page as and when more information on the qualifying schedules is available. Remember, the qualifying process itself can offer some good betting opportunities. So you’re not going to have wait until 2020 to place your European Championship wager.
Biggest Upsets and Underdogs in European Championships
In any soccer tournament, there’s always the chance of an underdog defying the odds and pulling off a shocking upset. We spend the rest of this article highlighting when these upsets have taken place in the European Championship. Keep the following historical moments in mind next time you need some guidance on which long shot to take a chance on.
Czech Republic (1996)
In 1996, the Czech Republic was competing in the European Championship for the first time since becoming an independent nation following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The expectations for this team were very low, so it wasn’t surprising when they lost their first game to Germany.
Led by then-unknown players such as Karol Poborsky, Patrick Berger and Pavel Nedved, the Czech Republic rebounded from that loss in style. In their next game they overcame Italy, and they then drew with Russia to qualify for the quarter-finals. There they beat Portugal, to earn a semi-final tie against France. Surely their amazing run was going to end there?
Guess again. They took France to penalties and won the shootout 6-5. Unbelievably, they were now headed to the finals. They were up against Germany again, in a repeat of their first game, but this time they were there to put up a good fight. They went all the way to extra time, before losing the game at a subtle 2-1.
They couldn’t possibly be upset with themselves over the loss either, as making the finals was an amazing accomplishment. Both the team and their nation should be proud. This is a perfect example of an out-of-nowhere underdog.
Russia was ranked 16th going in to Euro 2008, and it was no surprise when they lost their game to Spain 4-1. Many expected them to fold at this point, but the team wasn’t about to just give up. They racked up wins against both Greece and Sweden, coming second in their group and qualifying for the quarter finals.
This alone was remarkable, but the biggest upset was yet to come. Russia beat the highly esteemed Netherlands 3-1 to advance to the last four. There, they became reacquainted with Spain, who once again was able to get the best of them. Despite that 3-0 defeat, however, their unexpected run still ranks among the most impressive feats in the history of the European Championship.
1975 marked the last year that only four teams would make it to the finals. It also went down in history as being one of the most exciting Euros under that format. Czechoslovakia was able to overcome the odds by their shear talent. Although there were no real stars on their team, they had made it to the finals. They were now going to be up against these phenomenal teams: the Netherlands, West Germany and Yugoslavia.
The Netherlands were the Czechs’ opponents in the semi-finals. This was a team that had very nearly captured the World Cup just two years prior, and they were the clear favorites. That meant nothing to the Czechs though, who beat them 3-1 in one of the most thrilling competitions of all time. Some people blame it on the fact that the Netherlands had two players sent off, but a win is a win either way.
In the finals they were up against West Germany, a team that had won the Euros in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974. It seemed likely that the Germans would win their third international tournament in a row, but Czechoslovakia had other ideas. They almost won in normal time, as they were leading 2-1 with just one minute remaining. A later equalizer from Bernd Holzenbein forced the game into extra time though, and with no further goals it went to penalties. Czechoslovakia won the shootout 5-3 to secure their victory.
This is arguably the biggest shock on this list, and perhaps even the biggest shock in the history of international soccer. Nobody, and we mean nobody, thought Greece could pull off a win in the 2004 Euros. Their odds of winning the tournament were 150-1, and only Latvia was considered a bigger long shot. This was partially due to the fact that Portugal and Spain were both in their group.
Despite a lack of superstars, Greece put in some great performances to qualify from their group. Displaying impressive discipline and endurance, they beat Spain and drew with Portugal. They lost their final group game to Russia, but had done enough to qualify. Even after their above average performance, few people expected them to go any further.
In the quarter-finals they met France, the European champions at the time. Remarkably, they won that match 1-0 to set up a semi-final against the Czech Republic. They won that match 1-0 too, and moved into the finals. There they faced Portugal. The result? ANOTHER 1-0 victory. Greece were the new European champions, and a grateful Greek nation made the team’s German-born coach Otto Rehhagel an official citizen.
The 1992 European Championship was notable for a number of reasons. It was the last edition of the tournament to feature eight teams, and the last where teams were awarded just two points for a win in the group stage. Not to mention, it was also the first major tournament to feature a reunified Germany.
We thought it was significant to point out that Yugoslavia qualified for the tournament, but was removed just before it started. This was due to the dissolution of the country, which resulted in wars and UN sanctions. Denmark was tabbed as a replacement, giving their team just one week to prepare.
To make things even more challenging, coach Richard Moller Nielsen was at odds with a number of his players. Several of them had walked out on the team during their original bid to qualify. He didn’t exactly have a wealth of top talent at his disposal in the first place, so no one had very high expectations for this team.
However, they made a credible start when they earned a 0-0 draw with England. They then lost Sweden, before gaining an impressive 2-1 victory over France. This gave them a spot in the semi-finals, where they faced the Netherlands. A win on penalties saw them through to the finals, and they still weren’t out of surprises. They beat Germany 2-0, to win their first-ever Henri Delanuey Trophy.