Sunday sees Euro 2012 come to scintillating fruition when defending champions Spain take on Italy in the Olympic Stadium, Kiev (where the chickens come from).
I don’t want to brag (and some of my Euro 2012
picks have been way off) but Sunday’s final sees me (and Mrs Richardson’s shoe
fund) guaranteed a return. Before a ball of 2012 was kicked I backed Spain to
lift the trophy and the eventual winner to come from Group C.
With the finalists both coming from Group C, I’m guaranteed
enough to make amends for my “lapses in good fortune” and with a bet already
locked down a soccer pick on Spain to lift the Euro 2012 trophy I can have some fun and back
Italy in Sunday’s match.
Whatever happens on Sunday evening there will be
enough for at least ONE shoe for ‘er indoors (sadly she has expensive tastes).
Italy face Spain for the second time in the
tournament, having played out a 1-1 draw in the group stages. A re-run of that score
is available at 5/1 while any draw is at 11/5. It’ll be the fourth time in the history of the European Championships
that the final will be contested by teams who have also squared off in the
group stage (this was the case in 1988, 1996 and 2004). Two out of those three
times it was the team who finished second in the group who won the tournament.
That’s at least one reason to back an Italian victory (another is, if you
already have cash coming your way if Spain win).
In 2004 Greece beat Portugal 2-1 in the group and
1-0 in the final. In 1996 Germany beat the Czech Republic (twice) firstly 2-0
and then 2-1 in the final; and back in 1988 the Soviet Union (remember them?) beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the
group but lost 2-0 in the final!
Euro 2012 has seen a total of 72 goals so far,
that averages out at 2.4 goals per game. The final is at 15/8 to go over 2.5 goals 2/5 to end under.
Spain have reason to feel confident.
Spain holds the record for the fewest goals
conceded in Euro 2012. They have let in just the one goal to this point, and they are also one
of just three teams to remain undefeated in Euro 2012. It’s hardly a one sided
traffic stat though, as the only team to have scored against Spain was Italy (in
their 1-1 tournament opener on 10th June) and the two other teams to remain undefeated
(in regulation) are England and Italy. Spain can take heart from the fact that
they have recorded the largest win (so far) in Euro 2012, after their 4–0 Group
Stage victory over the Republic of Ireland (a side Italy could “only” beat
However, Spain have not registered a competitive
win over Italy in nearly an eon (their penalty shoot-out victory in Euro 2008
is classed as a draw). Their record in 11 previous meetings is W1, D5, L5, with
the sole victory coming in the sides' first ever encounter at the 1920 Olympic
games, Sunday would be a good time to bust that particular hoodoo.
Sad to say..
Despite sharing the pitch in the final, these sides
also have the dubious honour of competing in the tournament's lowest scoring games;
a pair of 0-0s. One coming from Italy’s quarter final defat of England and
Spain’s semi-final match against Portugal. The soccer odds makers have lined a goalless damp squib of a final at 5/1 and any draw is at 11/5. This game shouldn’t end 0-0 as Italy have
scored in four of the five matches in the tournament (with their only failure
against Roy Hodgson’s England) and Spain have only failed to find the back of
the net once, against Portugal (the first time they had failed to score in nine
I’m not backing penalties, if for no other reason than
I’m got a big day in the office on Monday and could do with an extra bit of
Good news for Italy
Defeating Germany on their semi-final clash was a
great result for Italy, and it could bode very well for them on Sunday! In the last three
international football tournaments the side that has beaten Germany has lifted
the trophy. In the 2006 World Cup it was Italy beating Germany in the Semis and
then France in the final! That sort of history repeating itself is at 6/4. However,
the Victors Over Germany = champions stat is slightly
misleading, as in 2008 it was Spain who beat Germany in the final and in 2010
it was Spain again who beat the Germans on the way to World Cup glory.
With a final like this one, you could toss a coin
for the winner, but I recommend you back a half time draw as seven of the last
10 matches between Spain and Italy have been 0-0 at half-time. Backing a draw
at half time is at 5/6.
Prediction: Just so I’m guaranteed some money (and
so England can say they were knocked out by the champions) I’m backing Italy to
win Euro 2012 at 11/4 (and 2-1 at 14/1).