Author: Andrew Younger
Published: 13:22 08/10/2014
The home nations are all in the hunt for qualification to Euro 2016 as international football returns to the top of the agenda. Here we take a look at how the bookies rate their chances of making it all the way to France in 2016 one team at a time:
England have already passed arguably their toughest test of qualifying with flying colours. Their victory in Switzerland has all but confirmed their qualification in the eyes of most bookmakers, which is reflected in their prices. England are best priced at 1/41 to qualify for Euro 2016 with 888Sport and it is hard to argue with that. Fixtures against the likes of San Marino and Lithuania look like nothing more than an easy 6 points for England who should win their group without breaking a sweat.
Under the guidance of Gordan Strachan Scotland have come on leaps and bounds and can count themselves unlucky to have lost to world champions Germany in their opening qualifying match. However, Strachan and co. will be after points, not plaudits and he will be well aware that they are already on the back foot after their main qualification rivals Poland and the Republic of Ireland won their opening matches. Scotland are currently best priced at 21/10 to qualify for Euro 2016 with Bwin and given their level of performance under Strachan, they might just surprise a few people by turning things around and gaining qualification.
Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland will be going toe to toe with Scotland for a qualifying place in Group D, with Germany clear favourites to clinch top spot in that group. They landed the first punch with victory in their opening qualifier against Georgia. However, Martin O’Neill will be well aware that they need to improve if they are to get points against the likes of Poland and Scotland and he will be aware that there is still a long way to go in this qualifying campaign. The ROI are currently best priced at 7/5 to get out of the group with Bwin and if they can draw on the same spirit that lead them to qualification in 2012, they will provide good value for that price.
Wales struggled to a 2-1 win over minnows Andorra in their opening qualifying match, but when it comes to qualification to a tournament like this a scrappy win is as good as any other. Wales will come up against much sterner competition from the likes of Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina but boast genuine world-class talent in Gareth Bale and on his day Aaron Ramsey. If these two can fire, and captain Ashley Williams can lead by example at the heart of their defence then Wales have a great chance of qualifying. 888Sport are currently offering odds of 3/1 for Chris Coleman’s team to qualify with Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belgium all at shorter odds.
A dramatic 2-1 victory in Hungary got Northern Ireland off to a perfect start in their bid to qualify for Euro 2016. They haven’t been handed the toughest group but still find themselves as fifth favourite to qualify in the eyes of most bookmakers. Bwin are offering 4/1 for Michael O’Neill’s side to make it out of the group but Greece and Romania remain odds on favourites. Romania beat Greece in their opening qualifier and you feel that Northern Ireland are going to have to take points off both of these teams if they are to have a chance of pipping either to qualification.