Portugal a viable chance as dark horses to top Group B


Frequent inhabitants of a spot in the latter stages of European championships, Portugal appear overpriced at 4/1 to win Group B in Poland and Ukraine.

Paulo Bento’s men face tough opposition, with fancied Germany and Holland sides for company along with Denmark as each aims for a place in the tournament knockout phase.

Portugal’s impressive showings in this major tournament in recent times stands them in good stead to spring a surprise though.

The side have reached at least the quarter-final stage of each of the past four European championships, including a performance in 2004 when they were beaten finalists.

A raw Cristiano Ronaldo has developed somewhat since that competition, growing into one of the world’s finest footballers, and the Portuguese captain will be key to their chances of advancement here.

Ronaldo is 12/1 to be top tournament goalscorer, and bearing in mind his incredible haul of 60 goals in 55 Real Madrid appearances this term, he may be worth backing at that price.

Meanwhile, Bento’s charges are 23/20 to simply qualify from the group stage, and whilst Germany and Holland will provide particularly tough tests, Portugal’s run could continue.

They have topped their group in each of the last four European championships they have competed in, racking up at least two victories on each occasion, and remaining unbeaten in the group stage on two of those occasions.

With this in mind, those 4/1 odds about the Portuguese topping the group seem yet more appealing.

Some punters could even see them make a charge for tournament glory, and Portugal are often afforded a ‘dark horses’ tag heading into major tournaments.

They undoubtedly perform better in this tournament than the World Cup, given their record of just one appearance past the round of 16 since 1966.

Punters could therefore be inclined to back them to achieve Euro 2012 glory alternatively, at a lengthy 20/1.