England still the bet

June 17th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

I weakened and backed England at 8/11 against Wales. I happened to get away with it by about a minute and I suppose I wouldn’t have berated myself too savagely because I thought they should have been about 4/9. I’ve overrated them, I suppose, but I wouldn’t mark England down too harshly on this performance because playing against a well-organised team with ten behind the ball is always tricky. I still think the Tottenham element will come good in this tournament and England are on my short list. The received wisdom is that Italy and Croatia have played best so far, but neither played as well in their second game as their first. I am far from convinced and would be interested in a bet that England go further than either. Quite what the matter is with Belgium, well, answers on a postcard please.

I am leaving my comments about Wimbledon on the page for another week and I shall be adding to them where the women’s singles are concerned. Serena Williams is not quite the force of old and, although grass tends to bering out the best in Petra Kvitova, she looks quite dejected at times, as if life surely has more to offer than this. Which it does, of course, but as punters we need to know that players are totally focused.

I keep getting it wrong when Novak Djokovic plays Andy Murray, the latter once again going through a poor spell in Paris at exactly the time Djokovic hit his stride. Then, when it was all too late, Murray seemed to relax and all but came into it again. They play often, they practise together, they’ve known each other since they were nine but, when it really comes down to it, the Serb invariably produces something that Murray cannot counter. In a nutshell, the very best of Murray over a long period would make a game of it but anything less is immediately punished by the world number one.

If there is to be an upset this year, it may be provided by Juan-Martin Del Potro, who is finally back and playing well after a long spell away with injury. His game is ideally suited to grass and he looked in very good nick indeed in Stuttgart this week, his serve as powerful and accurate as ever.

The year Murray won Wimbledon, his task was made a good deal easier by the five-hour marathon semi between Djokovic and Del Potro. If the Argentine is right back to his best he will give anyone a game and we should be looking at the spreads as well as a small each-way price that will be quite exotic, because very few have spotted the sort of form he is in. Have a good look at the prices as soon as they come out.

Ian Signature