As the qualifying phase for Euro 2016 draws towards conclusion, the betting for the tournament proper is shaping up in predictable fashion, but is there a chance another Denmark or Greece could reward brave punters handsomely?
Unfortunately for the Greeks, a repeat of 2004 glories is impossible after a truly miserable campaign, while Danish hopes – currently rated at 150/1 – still hinge on success in the play-offs.
Instead, Ladbrokes have played their bat in a fashion Geoffrey Boycott would be proud of where the crowing the eventual champions is concerned.
Of the other definite attendants, Spain, Belgium, England, Italy and Portugal are all give reasonable chances, with the rest 33/1 bar and some nations not even assured of their berths in the expanded 2016 edition.
Other than the established countries, it’s fairly safe to assume punters will not be heeding the claims of other less-heralded ones, but at 40/1, Austria’s really take some beating in the dark horse stakes.
Having only qualified once for the European Championship finals in their history, in 2008, while also missing out on all of the last four World Cups, it’s fair to say Austria’s commanding Euro 2016 qualifying campaign has been something of a bolt from the blue.
Nevertheless, boasting a tightly-knit squad assembled mostly from a blend of Bundesliga and Premier League stars, Austria could be about to rewrite the history books in spectacular fashion.
The nation nicknamed Das Team did finish in third-place at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, though that remains the pinnacle for a country whose population is still a few millions short of London’s.
Skippered by Leicester’s summer signing Christian Fuchs, Austria cultivated the second-best record behind England from 10 games, dropping only two points, to leave Russia, Sweden and Montenegro in their wake.
Other recognisable names plying their trade on English shores include; Watford’s Sebastian Prodl, Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic, who has chipped in with three goals, and Tottenham defender Kevin Wimmer.
Bayern Munich star David Alaba is another Austrian treasure, while Basel striker Marc Janko has racked up seven strikes in qualifying and 25 in just 50 caps for his country.
Marcel Koeller’s men are pretty sturdy at the back also, having conceded just five goals en route, which is four less than Germany and one less than Italy, who still have a match to complete.
Naturally, fortune will still have to shine favourably on the Austrians when it comes to the Euros next summer, but if the key cogs from qualification are fit – then this tight-knit unit are worthy of some speculative investment.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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