SOCCER

European Championship Betting Guide: Saturday 7/3/21

Two semifinal spots are up for grabs on Saturday. Will Denmark and England march on, or should you back the Czech Republic or Ukraine to pull off the upset?

World football blue bloods Spain and Italy have already punched their tickets to the Euro 2020 semifinals after a pair of dramatic victories on Friday. Who will join them at Wembley next week?

Will favorites Denmark and England survive and advance? Or is an upset or two on the cards for Saturday?

For more insight on what to expect in Saturday’s quarterfinals, read on, and be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for updated odds on these contests and all other props involving Euro 2020.

Czech Republic vs. Denmark

Baku Olympic Stadium | Baku, Azerbaijan | 12pm ET
The Pick: Denmark +105

No team at Euro 2020 has captured the imagination -- not to mention the human spirit -- quite like Denmark has.

The Danish story at this tournament has been well-documented, of course, but the fact they’ve risen from the heartbreaking scenes surrounding Christian Eriksen’s on-field cardiac arrest on Matchday 1 to reach the quarterfinals in some style bears repeating.

It’s a great feat for a country with the same population as Wisconsin to reach this stage, but after scoring eight goals in their last two matches against Russia and Wales, Kasper Hjulmand's side will believe they’re not done yet at this tournament.


The numbers confirm what the eyes see, as well.

The Danes rank in the top four at these Euros in every major offensive category, including goals, shots on target, registered attacks, possession, and time spent in the opposition third -- all while allowing the fewest shot attempts of any team in the tournament.

Standing in the way of the No. 10 team in the world from moving on to the semifinals is a Czech Republic side currently ranked No. 40, though by no means has Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side played like a team of such humble stature.

Third-place finishers in Group D, the Czechs had a fairly nondescript group stage at these Euros, but they showed their quality in the Round of 16 against Holland and took full advantage after their opposition went down to 10 men in a 2-0 victory.

The 1996 Euro runners-up have ground out results with a hard-to-breach defense -- they’ve allowed just two goals all tournament -- and an efficient attack led by four-goal man Patrik Schick that’s made the most of their opportunities.

Yet it feels like the road will end in Baku for the Czechs.

This Central European side has gotten to the quarters in part because of their physical dominance over the opposition, but they now face a team that not only is more skilled but is perhaps just as adept -- if not better -- at the physical side of the game, as well.

Toughness is hard to prove with stats, of course, but the Danes have won more aerial battles than the Czechs at this tournament and have the size from front to back to rival anyone, making it that much more difficult to argue in favor of the upset.

Could the Czech backline keep the Danes at bay for 90 minutes? Of course, but why root for the draw when it feels so good to back an attack-first team with a whiff of destiny about them?

Long may this fairytale of a tournament continue for the men from Copenhagen.

Ukraine vs. England

Stadio Olimpico | Rome, Italy | 3pm ET
The Pick: Draw +340

According to the oddsmakers, no quarterfinal at Euro 2020 has more of a discrepancy between two sides than one set for Rome on Saturday evening.

In one corner is world No. 4 England, unbeaten winners of Group D and the only team at this tournament yet to concede a single goal.


In the other? World No. 24 Ukraine, the final third-place nation to qualify for the knockout stage despite posting a negative goal difference in group play.

Yet while the Three Lions are the obvious favorites for a reason, here’s why an upset -- or at least a draw -- could be on the cards.

First, even though the numbers don’t love the body of work of Andriy Shevchenko’s team at this tournament, they did go unbeaten in qualifying to top a group that featured Portugal, allowing four goals in eight matches in the process.

That defensive solidity hasn’t always been present at these Euros -- take the 3-2 loss to the Dutch on Matchday 1, for example -- but Ukraine has done enough on the back end to keep games close, and they’ll now face a strategically conservative England team that’s scored just four times across four matches in this tourney.

Second, while the Blue and Yellow haven’t exactly lit the scoreboard up with six goals in four games, they’ve shown the ability to produce enough moments of quality to trouble their opponents -- namely from the left feet of Andriy Yarmolenko and Round-of-16 hero Oleksandr Zinchenko -- and they did have success creating changes against a notoriously stingy Swedish side in the prior round.


Third, England have played the entire tournament to this point at home in London, and while Rome isn’t exactly a difficult trip, Covid policy in the UK and the continent will mean fans of the Three Lions will not be allowed inside the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday -- and something tells me the locals won’t exactly be pro-English for this one.

Finally, there’s no denying England are the better team and have superior players -- at +190, they’re the favorite to win the whole tournament for a reason, while Ukraine are 40-to-1 to go all the way -- but that gulf in class will surely mean Shevchenko's crew will plan to sit deep, defend, and play on the counter against an England side that hasn’t had overwhelming success creating chances versus a low block.

If Ukraine can withstand the pressure and frustrate an England side that maybe -- just maybe -- is already looking ahead to the semis, a stalemate is more than conceivable in this tournament of twists and turns.