European Championship Betting Guide: Tuesday 6/29/21
Two quarterfinal spots remain in Euro 2020, with one poised to be taken by a member of world football royalty and the other by a nation not used to the major tournament spotlight.
For insight on Tuesday’s Round of 16 clashes, read on, plus be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for all the odds on Euro 2020 and more!
England vs. Germany
Wembley Stadium | London, England | 12pm ET
The Pick: Draw +210
The final day of the round of 16 begins with the renewal of one of football’s most storied rivalries inside one of its greatest venues, and with both teams evenly matched, we just might get a contest fitting of a backdrop this grand.
ENGLAND. GERMANY. WEMBLEY.
CAN'T WAIT pic.twitter.com/dky3kyzhR8
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
For the uninitiated, England v. Germany at Wembley has produced some of the iconic moments in the sports’ history, chief among them the 1966 World Cup final that saw the Three Lions capture their only major title in a 4-2 win and a famous 1996 European semifinal that saw the Germans advance on penalties.
Tuesday’s incarnation of this fixture should be a fascinating one to watch, as these two teams have gone about their business in stark contrast to the other at this tournament.
With only two goals scored in the group stage, England have been surprisingly bland going forward for a team that averaged nearly four per match in qualifying, but they’re now the only side at these Euros yet to concede after shutting out Croatia, Scotland, and the Czech Republic to claim top honors in Group D.
Meanwhile, Germany’s games have been wide open, as Die Mannschaft scored six and gave up five on their way to a runner-up finish behind France and ahead of Portugal and Hungary in the imposing Group F.
Both teams have strong possession numbers -- 54% for England and 61% for Germany, the second-highest rate in the tournament -- but while Joachim Löwe’s men have turned that ball control into the fourth-most shots on target per game (5), Gareth Southgate’s side have instead registered the third-fewest attempts on target (2), though it should be noted that the three times they’ve hit the woodwork thus far don’t count in that metric.
Germany have the edge in most other statistical categories as well -- expected goals, shots allowed, time spent in the opposing third, etc. -- but they’ve also been the more unpredictable of the two in recent years, highlighted by the impressive 4-2 win over defending champions Portugal on Matchday 2 and the last-gasp 2-2 draw they earned against Hungary on Matchday 3.
In other words, it feels like the Germans have the higher ceiling, but the English have the safer floor, plus Harry Kane and Co. are playing at home for a fourth game running and will have the benefit of an additional day of rest.
While it’s hard to say how much those ancillary elements will factor in -- not to mention England’s Covid concerns surrounding Mason Mount -- the Three Lions’ defensive solidity is a luxury the Germans don’t have right now, so even if the offense doesn’t come, the backline should be stout enough to push this match into extra time at the least.
Sweden vs. Ukraine
Hampden Park | Glasgow, Scotland | 3pm ET
The Pick: Sweden +140
Sweden and Ukraine last met nine years ago in the group stage of Euro 2012, a match played in Kiev and won 2-1 by the hosts on the strength of two second-half goals by the legendary Andriy Schevchenko.
The former AC Milan striker -- and 2004 Ballon d’Or winner -- is now in charge of the national team he scored a record 48 goals for from 1995 to 2012, and he’d relish a similar result as the one he engineered on that June night in the Ukrainian capital almost a decade ago.
But while Shevchenko has guided his home nation to the knockout round of a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup, his current charges aren’t expected to extend their stay at these Euros beyond the round of 16, in large part due to the uninspiring play thus far.
With a 1-2-0 record in the group stage and a negative goal difference, Ukraine was the last third-place team to advance, plus with fellow Group C members Austria and the Netherlands already crashing out at this juncture, it seems their struggles came against a relative weak pool of opponents.
Statistically, there isn’t much to separate Ukraine and Sweden -- both have absorbed pressure and played on the counter in this tournament, so it’s no surprise each are in the bottom third in shots allowed, shots attempted, and time spent in their own third.
Yet while Ukraine have often looked out of their depth, the unbeaten Scandinavians have been composed in defense and dangerous when going forward en route to their surprise first-place finish in Group E.
Janne Anderson’s side blanked Spain and Slovakia before eliminating Poland in a 3-2 thriller, a sign that this Swedish team is capable of more of a cutting edge than they’re given credit for.
RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak have offered a threat all month, while the return of Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski on Matchday 3 after a Covid-enforced absence has added another dimension to the Swedish attack.
2 - Dejan Kulusevski (21y 059d) is the youngest player to assist two goals in a single game at the European Championships since Cesc Fàbregas (21y 053d) v Russia in 2008. Catalyst. #EURO2020 #SWE pic.twitter.com/j24YuJTM9V
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 23, 2021
Now, Robert Lewandowksi and Co. have demonstrated that Sweden aren’t invincible, and it’s certainly plausible they could be undone by a moment of brilliance from Andriy Yarmolenko or Roman Yaremko, a strike duo that have combined for four goals at these Euros.
Still, the Swedes will have done their homework and should know exactly where the Ukrainian threat is coming from, and that makes a return to the quarterfinals for a second straight major tournament for the Blågult the probable outcome in Glasgow.