Euro 2012 continues on the 11th June with Group D getting under way. The evening kick off sees co-hosts Ukraine up against Sweden. With England and France making up the group, both sides will know the importance of getting a result in the opening game.
Sweden 21/10 @ Paddy Power
Euro 2012 Hosts
Much has been made of the importance of home advantage for Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, but home support does not guarantee victory. In fact, in the opening games of past European Championships, host nations have quite a poor record. Poland illustrated the problems that weight of expectation can cause, and with that in mind, the odds about the Ukraine look too short.
Once home advantage is discounted, there is very little else to encourage a punt on Ukraine. They have lost 5 of their last 11 games, including their two most recent friendlies against Austria and Turkey. Food poisoning was blamed for the 2-0 loss to the Turks and there will only be a 6 day break between that loss and this opening game – illness among the squad is hardly ideal preparation.
Euro 2012 Sweden
In addition to a glut of question marks about the hosts, there is also a fair bit to like about Sweden, particularly at odds of over 2/1. Back in August 2011, the Swedes beat Ukraine 1-0, and including that win, they have claimed victories in 8 of their last 11 internationals. In much the same way as Denmark, Sweden have come into the tournament without any hype or fanfare, but they boast a decent record and will know that with England and France to follow in Group D, the opener versus Ukraine offers the best chance of 3 points.
Euro 2012 tip
The advantages of playing at home look overdone in this one, and with Ukraine seemingly recovering from illness, a strong Swedish side look too big at 21/10 with Paddy Power.