Dark horse Danes ready to strut their stuff
A well established pre tournament dark horse has to be Denmark, the 1992 European Champions have a quality squad and a nice draw should they progress to the knockout stages. With a lovely mix of experience and youthful exuberance they are one of the most exciting sides in the competition, their opening match against tournament debutants Finland provides an opportunity to send a message out to the rest of the competition. Kasper Hjulmand’s men are quite short here but with the talent on show I am comfortable in using the Asian Handicap to enhance value in getting them onside.
Finland will enjoy being one of the underdogs of the tournament but have been dealt a tough hand in the Group B. The team is better than the sum of parts with only a few household names, Lukas Hradecky in between sticks is the standout player, he has consistently been in the top bracket of Bundesliga goalkeepers in his time at Bayer Leverkusen and will do all he can to give his nation the best chance of progressing. The Finnish play Russia in the second group match which is their best opportunity to pick up points, with one win from the three outings usually enough to get through with the third place format. Teemu Pukki and Marcus Forss will be handfuls for any backline and have gone under the radar as a potential duo in the tournament, but anything would be a bonus for the Fins in this their first ever major championships.
All over the pitch the Danes have quality, an alarming amount of depth for a relatively small footballing nation. They are good enough to test any of the elite and will fancy their chances of making the last eight minimum. They are overwhelming favourites for this encounter but should be able to handle the pressure.
A potential angle however a shutout is very achievable for Denmark, playing in familiar surroundings they should get the job done.
- Denmark have scored in ten of ten and in all of their last 11.
- Denmark have conceded in three of ten.
- Denmark have seen both teams score in three of ten.
- Denmark have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
- Finland have scored in five of ten.
- Finland have conceded in seven of ten.
- Finland have seen both teams score in five of ten.
- Finland have seen over 2.5 goals in four of ten.
This could be one of the most entertaining matches of the first round of fixtures, Finland know they have nothing to lose.