We have reached the semifinal stage of Euro 2012 and each one of Spain, Germany, Portugal and Italy will be full of belief that they can win the tournament from here.
All four sides have all reached the final in one of the last three instalments of the UEFA competition, though only Spain have lifted the trophy in that time after beating Germany in the 2008 final.
Let’s have a look at how the bookies view the chances each of the sides still in Poland and Ukraine have of lifting the trophy in Sunday’s final in Kiev.
Odds sourced via Oddschecker. Best odds correct at time of publication.
Spain are 7-to-4 favourites to become the first country to retain the title, as you would expect of the defending champions and No.1 ranked team in the world.
A 1-1 draw with Italy in their opening Group C match preceded a 4-0 thumping of Republic of Ireland and a narrow—some would say fortunate—1-0 win over Croatia, sending the defending champions through as group winners. In the quarterfinals, Xabi Alonso scored both goals in a 2-0 win over France.
Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and Alonso all have two goals for Spain at the tournament thus far.
Despite manager Vicente del Bosque’s fondness for starting without any strikers in his team, Torres is the favourite among Spain’s players to finish the tournament as top scorer. At 7-to-1, he is the third-favourite overall. Fabregas is currently fourth-favourite at 20-to-1, with Alonso’s brace against France putting him fifth overall at 33-to-1.
Spain are 4-to-9 to win their semifinal against Portugal, with a victory over their Iberian neighbours over 90 minutes priced at evens.
Spain may be 7-to-4 favourites to win Euro 2012, but they have to share that status with Germany.
Joachim Loew’s team were 1-0 losers to Spain both in the semifinals of the last World Cup and in the final of Euro 2008. However, only three of the players who started that night in Vienna four years ago—Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski—are likely to feature from the kick-off in Thursday’s semi against Italy.
The Germans are on a run of 15 consecutive competitive wins ever since that defeat to Spain in Durban two years ago. They won their third place playoff in South Africa against Uruguay before registering 10 wins out of 10 in their Euro 2012 qualification campaign and four out of four so far at the finals.
Of the four men to have scored three goals so far Mario Gomez has done so with the best goal-to-minute ratio, 78.6. The Bayern Munich striker is, however, only second-favourite to claim the Golden Boot at odds of 7-to-2.
Germany are just shy of evens to beat Italy in 90 minutes at 18-to-19, while they are 2-to-5 to reach the final by whatever means necessary.
After the two joint-favourites there is big drop-off before we get to Portugal, who are rated at 6-to-1 to lift their first major trophy on Sunday.
After losing to Germany 1-0 in their first Group B match, a 3-2 win over Denmark and a 2-1 victory over Netherlands saw Paulo Bento’s side through as runners-up in the so-called “Group of Death”.
Cristiano Ronaldo came to life in that final group match with a devastating performance against the Dutch, and he replicated that in the quarterfinals by scoring the only goal in the match against Czech Republic.
Ronaldo finding his best form as the tournament has progressed means he is now 9-to-4 favourite to leave Poland and Ukraine as top scorer.
The bookies clearly think he will score enough in the semis to do so, because Portugal have only been given a 7-to-4 chance of making the final, with the odds of them beating Spain in 90 minutes are 7-to-2.
Italy may have won the World Cup four times—second only to Brazil—but their only European triumph came in 1968. They are rated at just 31-to-5 to win their second title at Euro 2012.
The Azzurri started off with a creditable 1-1 against Spain before they were held to the same scoreline by Croatia. In the end, a 2-0 win over Group C whipping boys Ireland sent them through as runners-up.
It took penalties to see them past England in the quarterfinals despite being the superior for the majority of their 0-0 draw.
Each of Italy’s four goals at Euro 2012 have been scored by different players—Antonio Di Natale, Andrea Pirlo, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli. Of that quartet, Balotelli has the best odds of ending the championship as top scorer, a decidedly long 66-to-1.
Cesare Prandelli’s team have been given odds of 2-to-1 of negotiating Germany and reaching the finals, with a best price of 4-to-1 of them doing so in 90 minutes.