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Euro 2016 Finals Game Analysis
Hosts France meet a Ronaldo-inspired Portugal as the 2016 European Championships come to a close at the Stade de France in Paris. But will it be Gallic flair or Portuguese resistance that will triumph?
Euro 2016 Finals Game Odds & Prediction
By Paul Seaton
France (EVEN) vs. Portugal (+345)
After exactly a month of fantastic football, the 2016 European Championships draw to a close on Sunday evening with just two sides battling it out for the title. Hosts France are favorites at Evens, with Portugal the outsiders at +345. It has been a fantastic tournament with a lot of surprises along the way, but two top teams will be fighting for the trophy. We'll hope to find the value as ever in our final piece on what has been a very entertaining tournament.
From Zeros to Heroes?
Portugal come into the final as underdogs, largely due to their record in 90-minute games, as until the semi-final they hadn't won any. Cristiano
Ronaldo had spent most of his time in Group F's bizarre games scratching his head. The Ballon D'Or winner missed chance after chance against Iceland in a stale 1-1 tie in Portugal's first game. In their second game, Portugal drew 0-0 with a disappointing Austria. But in the third game, with Portugal requiring a third tie to make the knockout stage, Ronaldo made it happen with two goals in a thrilling 3-3 draw with surprise package of the group, Hungary:
Les Bleus - Encore Une Fois!
If Portugal had a tough time scraping third in their group to reach the knockout stage, France enjoyed a far easier path. The hosts kicked the tournament off with a stuttering 2-1 win over Romania, before following that result up with a 2-0 victory against Albania.
Although that sounds routine, it took two last-ditch goals to put gloss on another performance that looked nervy, the effervescent Dimitryi Payet and top scorer-elect Antoine Griezmann bagging the goals.
Once into the knockout stage, the tournament really came to life.
Reigning World Champions Germany cruised through their group and made short work of Slovakia by beating them 3-0. Italy marched into the knockouts in top spot and eliminated previous winners Spain 2-0. Wales topped Group B, surprising many, and knocked out fellow United Kingdom country Northern Ireland in the last 16.
England, however, were frozen by tournament wild card Iceland. Despite being weaker man for man, they performed as a true team, and together with their fans, triumphed 2-1 in one of the biggest shocks ever in International tournament:
Portugal managed to nick a last-gasp extra-time winner against Croatia when the latter had dominated, and then needed penalties to sneak past Poland in the quarter-finals. France were far better, meeting Iceland and showing them exactly who the better team was. Despite a late rally by the visitors, the hosts were home and dry by half-time, 4-0 up and cruising. They eventually won 5-2 in one of the games of the tournament:
In the semi-finals, France met Germany, who had eliminated Italy in one of the most bizarre penalty shoot-outs ever. Here are the eighteen spot-kicks that were taken in front of a bemused crowd:
France took advantage of the decisive moments in the semi-final when they got revenge on Germany for the defeat in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final when 'Die Mannschaft' were 2-0 victors.
On Thursday, France were dominated for most of the first half before an Antoine Griezmann penalty gave them the lead. The little Atletico star doubled Les Bleus advantage in the second half. France won 2-0, sending them through to meet Portugal:
Portugal won by the same scoreline on Wednesday, triumphing 2-0 against a plucky Wales side for whom Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies were missing. Two goals in three minutes from Ronaldo and Nani gave Cristiano victory in the 'Battle of Real Madrid' between him and his Welsh club-mate Gareth Bale.
So, to the final itself and a showpiece which should be well worth the wait. While France are favorites, and deservedly so after being the tournament's top scorers, Portugal have a decent chance and we don't think they should be such underdogs at +345.
We certainly won't be backing France in a straight bet. So where is the value? We like Portugal with a +205 'Draw No Bet' added in. If you like the tie, we wouldn't drag you out of the shop at +210.
When it comes to their main goalscorers, we like Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Goalscorer Match Bet at +125, with Griezmann worse value at -165.
France can win the game and the trophy without Griezmann scoring, and he is likely to be man-marked. Portugal rely totally on Ronaldo playing his part and the Real Madrid man was the dominant force when the two men last men on the field- in the UEFA Champions League final.
Griezmann missed a penalty in regular time that night, and while the diminutive striker won't need to make up for that on Sunday, we feel he might try too hard for retribution. Ronaldo can be man-marked, on a yellow card and in poor form and still knock in a couple of goals out of nowhere - he must be a great bet.
We also like a few less-favored choices. France sometimes start slowly, so a Portugal half-time lead and tie at full-time prediction is +1250. Portugal are +170 to win either half, and if Ronaldo scores first and it finishes 1-1 then you'll like the odds of +2500. It should be an amazing final.
Enjoy all the action!
Pick: Ronaldo to score and Portugal to win
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