French Provide Reminder to Be Wary Of Euros Favourites
Pre-tournament favourites France attracted plenty of backers before Euro 2020, but Les Bleus have since crashed out of the competition in a dramatic fashion.
Once again, it’s a reminder that favourites in the odds are not always the way to go, especially when it comes to the unpredictable nature of the European Championships.
France Were Credible Favourites
There of course was little surprise France being the favourites before the competition in the Euros betting odds, having lifted the World Cup in Russia back in 2018. Considering the star-studded side, with a formidable front three of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, great things were expected of Didier Deschamps’ side.
Deschamps was looking to become the first man to win the European Championships and World Cup as both a player and a coach, but it was Switzerland in the last 16 that put an end to that dream for now. Credit to punters who saw there could be an upset on the cards in the clash between France and Switzerland, and some of the more conservative backers might well have gone for the double chance market to back the underdogs.
The Swiss looked like their Euro 2020 journey was over with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, having just seen Paul Pogba’s wonder strike curl into the top corner on 75 minutes. But as France’s odds for the title might have been shortening, there was to be a final, dramatic twist in the tale, with late goals from Haris Seferovic and Mario Gavranovic taking the thrilling encounter into extra-time and then penalties. France’s poster boy Mbappe was to prove to be the unfortunate penalty casualty, and backers of the French team might well have been looking for a new nation to pin their colours to after the final whistle.
History Repeating Itself
The exit of France is once again another European Championship where a pre-tournament favourite has failed to live up to their billing and seems to be a competition where anything is possible. Looking at past winners, few would have expected Portugal to claim their first European crown in 2016, and even fewer would have picked out champions Greece back in 2004.
Going back even further to 1992 and Denmark caused an upset, as they overcame Germany in the final to lift the trophy. The World Cup has regularly seen one of the most established teams claim the title, and one has to go back to 1950 until a surprising winner in Uruguay is found. For some reason, there seems to be something about the competitive nature of the European Championships that throws up surprises.
Of course, there will be plenty of movement in the outright winner market for the remainder of the competition. But looking ahead to the next event at Euro 2024, it’s always worth questioning whether the pre-tournament favourite is worth your backing.