Euro 2020 Bet Of The Day: Probably The Best Bet
Denmark and England cruised through the knockout rounds after very different group stages and Liam expects a fascinating but fraught semi-final.
England v Denmark 7th July 20:00 BST
Here we are. The second-to-last game of Euro 2020 is upon us and we are about to find out who will be in the final. England were pre-tournament favourites and have marched through the competition almost unscathed. Denmark were as good as eliminated after two games but managed to run Russia ragged and scrape though as one of the best third place teams.
Half Way There
England were as carefree as we have seen them in years in their rout of Ukraine, exactly as we predicted in our preview. We also called out Southgate’s reluctance to rotate, and we saw that in Rome as well. He over relies on key players and struggles to adapt when a change is needed. Southgate started with his steadfast favourites once again in the quarterfinal and was slow to make changes.
All five substitutions were only made after England went 3-0 up. Even then it took over 15 minutes for any of the attacking players to get a run out. Only Declan Rice was given a break before the hour mark. Kane scored twice so you could say it was the right call to play him. But he was the last player to come off (and only once England were 4 goals to the good) and he still does not look to be moving freely. That was an extra 75 minutes of football in 30 degree heat and brings his total up to 410 minutes of game time in the last three weeks. The younger and more fringe players have yet to be given much of a chance and England fans would better hope they are not needed here (or in the final).
That being said, it is no surprise to see England favourites in this game. As uninspiring as they have been up front they have been solid in defence.
England do not rely on the heroic defending that epitomises the likes of the Italians. Nor do they hog possession like Spain. Rarely are the English rear-guard required to resort to last ditch tackles that make the highlight reel. Instead, they play a style of football that gets everyone back behind the ball as soon as they lose it. They congest all the space around their own box and suffocate their opponents. It might not be pretty but its incredibly effective and for that Southgate deserves the all credit. England still haven’t conceded a goal in this tournament!
If the Three Lions can continue this run of clean sheets then there is no stopping them. The question is what will they do – what can they do – if they find themselves a goal down?
Probably Better Than I Thought
I must admit I underestimated Denmark, especially the last time out. I thought the Czech Republic would cause them a lot more problems and despite the close score line, the Danes were comfortable throughout. They have a freewheeling team that produces plenty of chances without having many household names. They change formation regularly, rotate players often and look to have a well balanced squad.
In fact, where England have started with the same two up top in every game so far (Kane and Sterling), Denmark have been in a constant stay of change. Across the five games so far they have started four different front lines.
They have played with one, two or three up top at various stages and comfortably switch between three-man, four-man and five-man midfields. Half of their goals have come from the forward line and half from the midfield and there are plenty of scoring threats across the squad. They are very hard to predict.
The Betting Angle
Knockout football is never the time to back favourites and that’s why I am steering clear of England. They have a great squad, are playing well, but at odds-on they do not interest me. Would I be surprised if England won this game comfortably? Not at all. But I would not fancy putting money on them, especially as they are largely untested in this competition so far.
In terms of match betting I think Denmark are the better value. They played England twice last year in the Nations League and did not concede a single goal. They even beat England in Wembley (although Maguire was sent off in the first half). In fact, other than against Belgium (and that extraordinary Eriksen game) they have not lost a football match in nearly three years. England have the stars, the reputation and home advantage, but 9/2 for Denmark to win is generous.
I am quite tempted by over 2.5 goals at 13/10. The knockout stages of Euro 2020 have seen a lot of action and an early goal, especially for Denmark, could spark this one into life. However, we have seen how comfortable England are to suffer through a low scoring game and if it remains goalless into the second half we can expect to see both teams settle.
Denmark to qualify in extra time is my bet in this game. They know how to beat England, they will be fresher than England and their squad players have seen more game time. I am surprised to see this priced up at 22/1 and will be my bet here.
Worth a Shot
Denmark have racked up an impressive 37 shots on target in this campaign, with at least 6 in every game. I expect to see more of the same here. England will focus on keeping Denmark out of the box so there is plenty of value in looking at midfielders. Thomas Delaney averages over a shot a game for the national side and at 7/2 for 1+ SOT I think he is a great bet. He scored last time out so I expect him to have the confidence to go for goal, especially if the passing options in front of him are limited.
Denmark to Qualify in Extra Time @ 22/1
Delaney 1+ SOT @ 7/2