Euro 2016 predictions: The Lions battle the Dragons for British pride and passion


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A 92nd minute Vasili Berezutski goal ensured that England maintained their infamous record of having never won their opening match in the history of the European Championships as they started this year’s campaign with a 1-1 draw against Russia. That result will be particularly painful for the ‘three lions’ as they had dominated a very average Russian side that was there for the taking and their next set of matches do not look like they would be that comfortable. Tomorrow they will face a Welsh side brimming with confidence after their opening day 2-1 victory over a very decent Slovakian side.

Roy Hodgson would need to correct the mistakes he made against the Russians in this very important match for England, beginning with picking the right personnel. He failed to exploit the obvious lack of pace in the Russian backline by not starting any of his pacy strikers (Vardy, Sturridge or Rashford), choosing to go with a Harry Kane that clearly looked off the boil and don’t even get me started on the corner-kick duty the 22 year old was given (he took six corners in the game, only one fewer than he managed in his 38 Premier League games in the just concluded season). The Tottenham forward was clearly having a torrid night and did not have a single touch in the opposition box, yet he was kept on the pitch for all ninety minutes.

To add more spice to this fixture Real Madrid ace, Gareth Bale, recently suggested that his countrymen had more passion and pride than the English, an opinion that didn’t go down well with the Hodgson and Wayne Rooney.

Wales showed in their first match that they aren’t a one-man team as a lot of people had earlier thought, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey(with his new blond hair), Joe Allen, Hal Robson Kanu and Joe Ledley acquitting themselves very well in that game. They will also be fired up by the thought of progressing to the next round, which can be achieved if they avoid defeat in this fixture. The English have already won the first battle, as Wales will not be able to take the field in their traditional fiery red kit, due to the fact that UEFA were concerned about a colour clash if both teams wore their ‘home’ strips.

England’s new kit features white shorts and red socks, just like Wales’s, and the governing body decided that Wales, as the designated away team, were the ones who would have to change, which means that Gareth Bale and company will take to the field in their charcoal and green away kit. This battle of the home nations looks set to be one for the ages.

The third British team in this tournament, Northern Ireland, began their campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss to a more talented Polish side and it’s already looking very gloomy for them at the tournament. They will take on the Ukrainians tomorrow, knowing that anything short of a victory might well end their hopes of progression to the next round. Michael O’Neill’s men will need to perform even better than they did in the qualifiers if they hope to extend their stay in France.

As for the Germans, they have begun well and will look to consolidate on their fine start with another victory in their second match, which will be against a very good Polish side.

France edged Romania 2-1 in a nervy opening to the tournament and will be thankful for the quality of opposition they will face in their next game in the form of Albania. The quality in this French team should be too much for the Albanians to handle today, especially with the absence of the Albanian skipper, Lorik Cana, who had the misfortune of being sent off in their opening game and will now sit out this one. Albania showed us how dangerous they could be in their opening game, but they will need to work on converting the few chances they get, as they could have scored at least two goals against the Swiss, with better finishing. It will be seen as an upset of seismic proportions if the French don’t win this game and for the Albanians, avoiding defeat to France today might just be the biggest result in their history( arguably better than their 1-0 victory away to Portugal during the qualifiers).

I will be giving you my betting tips for today and tomorrow’s games, so you can quickly head to to place your bets.

The first game of the day will be between Russia and Slovakia, if we are to judge these teams based on what we saw from their opening matches, my bet will be on an outright win or double chance for Slovakia, with Marek Hamsik likely to get a goal in the game and a bet of Under2.5 goals. In the second match, we will see Romania take on Switzerland; this one looks like a draw and a low scoring affair, Under2.5 goals. France face Albania in the final match of the day and like I said earlier, I don’t see past a French win and a possibility of Over2.5 goals, with Olivier Giroud amongst the scorers again.

Tomorrow’s matches will begin with the ‘Battle of Britain’, between England and Wales. The ‘three lions’ have won their last four games against Wales, but the last of these games was five years ago. However, a double chance bet on England looks good to go, while for goals, a bet of Over2.5 goals will pay well.

For the second match, a draw between Northern Ireland and Ukraine would be a good bet, with an additional bet of Under2.5 goals.

Germany and Poland will wrap up proceedings tomorrow night in a tantalizing fixture and an outright win or double chance bet on Germany seems like the sensible decision, but if you’re a risk taker and believe in the ability of this Polish side to cause an upset, then a bet on a Polish win will pay handsomely. I think there will be goals in this one and a bet of Over2.5 goals doesn’t look like bad.

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