Grealish hoping to feature in Three Lions’ opener
The next time we see England play, the stakes will be raised a lot higher than they were for their latest unconvincing 1-0 win against Romania. Granted, it was Gareth Southgate’s reserves doing their best to impress the boss.
One player who certainly did that was Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, who will be disappointed if he does not feature against Croatia in England’s opener. Grealish, the Premier League’s most fouled player in the last two seasons, has taken his chance in England’s two warm-up matches.
Grealish’s first instinct when he receives the ball is to attack and his ability to draw fouls in dangerous areas could be a profitable source of goals this summer for Southgate’s side. James Ward-Prowse’s set-piece delivery was evident against Romania and that won’t have gone unnoticed by Southgate with the future in mind, though he misses out this time with Brighton defender Ben White being named replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 26-man squad.
England have never reached the final of the European Championships but with the attacking options available to Southgate, this is a great opportunity. The Three Lions can be backed at 4.3100/30 to rewrite that chapter in their history and reach the final for the first time.
Adams sends Scotland into Euros with a win
Scotland did what was expected of them by winning in Luxembourg to send them into the Euros on a positive note. Che Adams boosted his chances of being selected for their opening game against the Czech Republic by scoring his second international goal. Adams is 9/2 to score more goals for Scotland this summer than anyone else.
This was a game Steve Clarke’s side were expected to win, and they were helped by Vahid Selimovic’s red card 10 minutes before half-time. The Scots will now enter the tournament unbeaten in their last five matches and might just have won over a few doubters who feel they are at the Euros to make up the numbers.
Playing against 10 men should have seen the Scots score more goals, but a flurry of second half substitutions stifled the flow of the game. Scotland, who will have home advantage for their opener against Czech Republic and their final group game against Croatia, can be backed at 2.6613/8 to qualify from Group D.
Lukaku leads Belgium to victory over Croatia
One of the more glamorous friendlies of the weekend took place in Brussels when Belgium hosted Croatia on Sunday. Both nations have good pedigree in recent tournaments with Croatia reaching the World Cup final three years ago while Belgium got to the semi-finals.
It took half an hour for the Belgians to assert themselves on the Croatians and they deservedly opened the scoring through Romelu Lukaku. The Inter forward showed why he is the front runner to win the Golden Boot award.
Lukaku’s 24 goals helped Inter land their first Serie A title in 11 years and his goals this summer could lead his country to their first ever major honour.
Lukaku can be backed at 2423/1 in a double to win the Euros and be the tournament’s leading scorer which are very generous odds, given the talent in the Belgian squad and the form Lukaku is bringing to the competition.
Denmark proving to be hard to beat
Winning is a good habit to have and Denmark made sure they wrapped up their pre-tournament preparations with a 2-0 win at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina thanks to goals from Martin Braithwaite and Andreas Cornelius. It was Denmark’s ninth win in their last 11 internationals.
The only team to have beaten the Danes in their last 28 matches are Belgium who did so twice in the Nations League. The bad news for Kasper Hjulmand’s side is that FIFA’s number one ranked nation are in their group this summer.
In a group that also includes Russia and European Championship debutants Finland, Denmark should be confident of qualifying from Group B and their odds of 1.171/6 reflect their form coming into this tournament.
Spaniards isolate after Busquets’ positive test
Spain open their Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden in seven days time, but they will likely have to do without their skipper Sergio Busquets who tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. Busquets is set to miss their opening game, and will hope to return to the squad as soon as possible.
Sergio Busquets is the most experienced player in Spain’s Euro 2020 squad with 123 caps. The midfielder has scored just twice for his country.
Busquets could be the first of many players to test positive during the first major tournament to be held since the pandemic brought sport across the world to a standstill. Euro 2020 was postponed last summer because of the pandemic.
The 32-year-old has left Spain’s training camp while the rest of the squad are now in isolation. Because of the possibility of players testing positive for coronavirus, nations were allowed to select 26-man squads, an increase of three to the normal squad sizes and UEFA will hope there won’t be many more positive cases.
Spain’s odds of winning Euro 2020 have not been affected too much by Busquets’ positive result and they remain fourth favourites at 7/1 on the sportsbook and Luis Enrique’s team can be backed at 9.89/1 on the exchange to win Euro 2020 which would be their third title in four European Championships.