Though unfancied by many to triumph in Group D, England’s status as winners of that group has seen Ladbrokes trim the Three Lions to 9/1 to win Euro 2012.
Wayne Rooney hit a 48th minute winner on his return to the England side, and in turn set up a quarter-final clash with Italy, which Roy Hodgson’s side are 13/8 favourites to win.
Sweden unexpectedly did England a favour too, claiming a surprise victory over France which secured England’s berth atop of Group D, and thus meaning a potential quarter-final meet with defending champions Spain is avoided.
Punters were rejoicing not only for England’s success last night, but the nature in which it was achieved, as Rooney’s strike in his first appearance at the tournament led to a massive payout.
Over £250,000 in fact was dished out to those who backed the Manchester United scorer to score first, score at anytime, and score in an England win, amongst other markets, though he was a particularly popular selection to open the scoring at a generous 5/1.
Now, with Rooney in scoring form, and captain Steven Gerrard at his imperious best, Ladbrokes make England odds-on chances at 4/5 to advance to the semi-finals by any means.
Initially touted as favourites to top the group at 8/13 meanwhile, France have drifted out to 10/1 to win Euro 2012, in the aftermath of their first defeat in 24 matches.
They must beat reigning World and European champions Spain to have any chance of progression, though that doesn’t seem as insurmountable a task as it has in recent times, with the Spanish largely unimpressive in the competition so far.
England’s progress means that a likely semi-final with Germany awaits should they get past the Italians, and there should be few greater incentives for the side to reach their first major tournament semi-final since 1996 on Sunday.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.