Punters think Northern Ireland will be the ‘Leicester of the Euros’

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With an expanded format of 24 teams this summer’s European Championships has the potential to throw up a shed-load of upsets and freak results.

But which international sides have the most potential to cause the mother of all shocks and become the ‘Leicester of the Euros’?

Well, we’ll give you Northern Ireland for starters but more on that later.

We’ve taken a look at a few previous surprises as well as had a quick scout to see which underdogs you’ve been backing.

The history

Netherlands 4-1 France, Euro 2008 Group Stage @ 100/1 

Marco van Basten’s Netherlands side may have already dismantled Italy 3-0 in their Group C opener but few could’ve predicted they’d follow-up so emphatically against France.

Dirk Kuyt put the Dutch ahead after just 10 minutes in Berne, before goals from Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder completed the rout.

Thierry Henry’s scant consolation was sandwiched in between but it mattered little on a night where the Oranje secured their biggest ever Euros victory. Were you on at triple-figure odds?

Milan Baros, Euro 2004 Top Goalscorer @ 66/1

A broken ankle in the campaign leading-up to Euro 2004 had severely hampered the preparations of Liverpool and Czech Republic frontman, Milan Baros.

Having scored just two goals in the 2003-04 season, few expected Baros to shine in Portugal but he proved those doubters wrong by bagging five goals in the tournament and the Top Goalscorer gong.

Greece to win Euro 2004 – @ 250/1 

Yeah, hands-up if you were on Greece? If your arm is extended in the air you’re either one of the select few who lumped on or telling porkies.

Arguably the biggest upset at any major international tournament, the Greeks’ passage to being crowned European champions was built on defensive solidity and an unmatched workrate.

Angelos Charisteas’ 57th-minute winner in the final saw Hellas beat the hosts in their backyard, a result that thrilled a nation and the bookies in equal measure.

The future?

Northern Ireland to win the Euros @ 500/1

Scoff all you like but Northern Ireland winning the Euros is a real possibility according to more than just a few of you.

One ambitious punter stuck on £200 at 500/1 while plenty more have waded in since that price has dropped.

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Much like Leicester winning this season’s Premier League, victory for Norn Iron would be costly indeed and it’s a prospect that’s got our traders pouring with sweat.

And that’s not the end of your optimism. One punter walked into a Ladbrokes shop in London and placed this…

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You’ve seen the history so will you be backing a lively longshot this summer?

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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William Geldart

Having graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Wales, Bangor, William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.