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Euro 2012 Betting Tips

News and Betting Tips from Euro 2012


When the 2012 European Championships kick off in Poland and Ukraine next year, we could see three Eastern European teams making their competitive debuts. Estonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina impressed during qualifying, and can be sure to pose tricky questions of their opponents Ireland, Portugal and the Czech Republic. Together, they have an alluring mix of young unknowns and some of the highest-regarded players on Europe. What’s more, history might be on their side. The Euros have been kind to debutantes. While it’s true that no first-timer has got through the opening stage since Croatia in 1996, Belgium, Italy and Germany all won at the first attempt. Hungary, Belgium and England secured third place in their respective first tournaments.


For Estonia, beating Ireland would mean their first international competition since the 1924 Olympics. The 2012 Euros would mark a decade of games since coming into existence after the fall of the USSR. The national team has had a rough ride, including a famous game against Scotland where the Estonians refused to turn up, meaning Scotland kicked off alone. There was also an outcry earlier this year, when their 2-2 draw with Bulgaria was investigated after heavy betting on penalties: the referee gave two to each side, all of which were scored. Other results have been just as surprising in other ways. Estonia beat Uruguay, World Cup semi-finalists, 2-0, but then suffered defeats to the Basque country and the Faroe Islands. Much will depend on the first leg at home against Ireland, who can rely on an intimidating atmosphere in the Dublin return.


While Estonia have rocketed up to 58th in the FIFA World Rankings, Bosnia-Herzegovina have been the nearly men for the last few international tournaments. In the play-off for South Africa 2010 (against their opponents this time, Portugal), they hit the bar three times in one match.  This time, they were unlucky to finish outside the automatic places. While level-headed fans point to dropped points against Albania and a defeat to a poor Romanian side, the conspiracy theorists point to the controversial penalty given against them in Paris that got France the point they needed to qualify. Ill-feeling in Bosnia is at such a level that the Wikipedia for that match currently has FIFA leader Michel Platini down as the French goal scorer.


Of all the emerging countries this year, Bosnia-Herzegovina may be the best placed to make an impact on the international stage. They have an intriguing mix of massive stars and emerging talent, including Edin Dzeko, who needs 2 goals to be hic country’s top scorer, Miralem Pjanic who is increasingly influential at Roma, and Senad Lulic, who has been strongly linked with top Premier League clubs. The country still battles against the stigma of its recent past – Portugal at first tried to get the leg in Bosnia moved from the city of Zenica, even suggesting neutral venues – but the fact that there is a Bosnian bid to hold the Euros themselves in 2020 speaks volumes.


Neighbours Montenegro are also flying at an all-time high. The world’s newest recognised national side, registered after the 2006, they rose from the bottom of the rankings to be just outside the top ten FIFA nations in June 2011. They impressed in qualifying ties versus Wales and England, even if the sending-off of Wayne Rooney in their final match got the headlines after the 2-2 draw. Like Bosnia-Herzegovina, footballers have become one of Montenegro’s most high-profile exports. The youngster Stefan Savic is busy stepping into Vincent Kompany’s shoes at Manchester City, as well as getting Champions League experience. Mirko Vucinic was a big summer transfer to Juventus in Italy, and like Savic, the Montenegrin captain, with 11 goals in 24 caps, goes into these play-offs with his domestic side top of their league. Reassuringly for such a  young nation, they do have a link with the past. Their coach, Branko Brnovic, knows only too well the effect of politics and nationality on  an international career, having played for the much-disrupted Yugoslavia teams before that country’s break-up. He also won two leagues and two cups with one of Eastern Europe’s most famous sides, the late 1980’s incarnation of Partizan Belgrade.

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