Euro 2012 Odds: Dark-Horse Teams Worth Taking a Chance on

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2012

ZAGREB, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 15:  Luka Modric of Croatia in action during the EURO 2012 qualifier, play off second leg match between Croatia and Turkey at the Zagreb Stadium on November 15, 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

There is no denying that Germany, Spain and Netherlands are the overwhelming favorites to win Euro 2012. The Germans' combination of experience and youthful talent, Spain's ridiculous passing and dominant midfield and Netherlands' plethora of weapons all set them head and shoulders above the competition.

The likes of France and England, Italy and Russia, are also expected to be good contenders for UEFA European Championship, but they're likely to fall to one of the aforementioned powers in the end.

But there are 16 total nations represented at Euro 2012, and some of the less-talked-about squads are worth taking noting of, especially if you plan on wagering a buck or two.

(Odds according to

Portugal (18-1)

The Portuguese aren't truly a dark horse, but they were drawn into the "Group of Death" and thus shuffled back rather quickly behind Germany and Netherlands.

If one of the two powerhouses were to falter even for just a minute, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is capable of changing the game— as is teammate Nani.

This team is not deep enough to play with the Germans or Dutch if they're on their game, but if they're flat, the Portuguese are beyond dangerous.

If they were to sneak through to the knockout phase, they'll be even more dangerous as a team with nothing to lose.


Poland (40-1)

The host country has a dynamic scorer in Borussia Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski, and they'll have the backing of their fans raining down on opponents.

This is a young group who nobody expects too much from, but they have scary potential and could catch fire.

At 40-1, in their home country, the Poles are not a bad wager at all. They're unlikely to truly win (so don't throw big bucks on them), but they're worth a "what if" bet.


Croatia (50-1)

The Croatians are arguably the juiciest team on this list. Led by star midfielder Luka Modric, they were lucky enough to draw into Group C with Spain, Italy and Ireland.

Spain will run away with the group, but Italy has been declining for years and are surrounded by club match-fixing scandals. The Irish, meanwhile, are playing in their first international competition in 10 years.

Vatreni could potentially land in the knockout phase rather easily if they play up to their potential, and anything could then happen in the elimination rounds.


Greece (100-1)

The Euro 2004 champs are getting absolutely no respect, and this 100-1 number is absolutely insane. The Galanolefki went unbeaten in qualifying and rarely let in goals. Although they struggle to score their own, this defensive-minded power cannot truly be counted out.

They surprised everyone once and could do it again playing in a wide-open Group A. At this price, there is virtually nothing to lose.