England still the bet at 10/1

June 25th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Coverage of England’s progress to the last sixteen at Euro 2016 has been critical, even scathing at times. True, the changes Roy Hodgson made against Slovakia did not work out but the fact is that England were always going to make it to the next phase. They had any amount of possession and were never going to concede.

Personally, I think Hodgson is a lucky man to be managing England because his overall record in the British game is patchy at best. I also think he would quickly lose his temper in the face of far more overt criticism but that is by the by. There will come a time when the players, especially the Tottenham nucleus, make their own decisions and give someone a hiding – it may happen against Iceland.

After that, is there really anyone to fear all that much? England have recent victories over France and Germany in friendlies and, even if Euro 2016 is a vastly different proposition, the players will know the opposition’s limitations. There is no outstandingly good team in this tournament; Spain are struggling to recover the form of a few years ago, Germany were unimpressive against Northern Ireland and Italy flattered early on, only to disappoint once qualification was guaranteed. The bookmakers will not have them now and, of course, they face Spain. I simply cannot see France going all the way and the crowd is by no means certain to remain positive if the hosts meet England and struggle early on.

In summary, I think the pre-tournament advice to back England (still available at 10/1) with a saver on Belgium looks solid enough. Croatia may be best of the rest.

As you know, my long-term fancy for Wimbledon is Juan Martin Del Potro in the Men’s Singles and you will get 33/1 or much bigger on the exchanges. There are any number of promising young players in the women’s section and I think the likes of dual champion Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wosniacki and Angelique Kerber may well struggle early on. Kvitova simply does not look happy to me, while it is always a little painful to watch players struggling to come anywhere near their best form. The Wosniacki-Kerber match last week was littered with mistakes and one of my early investments would involve selling all three of those players on the spreads. I think they may depart in the first week.

Ian Signature