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Euro 2024 Last-16 Predictions: Switzerland can take Italy the distance – Sky Sports

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The Euro 2024 last-16 matches begin on Saturday; Fixtures: Italy vs Switzerland, Germany vs Denmark, England vs Slovakia, Spain vs Georgia, France vs Belgium, Portugal vs Slovenia, Romania vs Netherlands, Austria vs Turkey: Play Super 6 to win £100,000!
Football Journalist
Friday 28 June 2024 17:28, UK
It’s knockout football from now on at Euro 2024 and our football betting expert Jones Knows unleashes his insight and predictions on the action.
Don’t fear backing the draw is my advice when it comes to European Championship knockout matches. Since Euro 1996, those backing matches to end all square in this competition will have bagged a very healthy stakes level profit. A staggering 45 per cent of knockout matches have in that period ended as a draw. It’s a 19/10 shot with Sky Bet for this one to head to extra-time and that looks a fair shout.
Those looking for a stronger betting angle into the game should focus on Italy corners, where the line looks favourable.
Luciano Spalletti is likely to use the 3-5-2 formation he employed against Croatia which does suit key players like Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni, who play so well in this system at Inter Milan.
It’s a style of play that encourages the wide players to roam forward into deep crossing positions and this increases the chance of corners being won. The two wing-backs here in Federico Dimarco and Giovanni Di Lorenzo were responsible for winning 70 corners between them in Serie A last season with Dimarco’s average of 1.65 corners won per game only bettered by two other players in the league.
Italy won 11 against Croatia in the 3-5-2 system so the six or more line at 11/8 with Sky Bet looks a cracker.
Italy 6+ corners vs Switzerland, De Bruyne 1+ shot on target vs France & BTTS in Spain v Georgia in 90mins!
This looks a great draw for Germany. They remain a team I’m wary about in terms of going all the way as they will be vulnerable to a team that play with quick transitions and speed in wide areas. But Denmark aren’t that team. It’s an ageing squad, lacking imagination in forward areas especially. I’d be surprised if this vibrant Germany don’t deliver in 90 minutes.
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Antonio Rudiger is certainly revelling in the home nation vibes playing for this attack-minded Julian Nagelsmann team.
He’s a bit of a showman isn’t he? And twice already at the tournament he’s gone for the spectacular strike from range.
He’s not immune to taking aim from distance. In his last season with Chelsea he had 20 shots from outside the box with six of them hitting the target. You can get 15/2 with Sky Bet on him hitting the target from outside the box – a bet that landed in Germany’s win over Scotland. And the 100/1 on him scoring from outside the box is one for the dreamers.
Expect much of the same from England against a similar opponent to the ones they faced in their group. It will be safe, it will be tough to watch but Gareth Southgate’s side will probably find a way in a turgid, low-scoring encounter.
A penalty to be scored looks a runner to me here at 5/2 with Sky Bet as England are the best team at the tournament at winning penalties, by some distance, yet one hasn’t dropped their way yet.
England have been awarded 35 penalties in just 97 games since Gareth Southgate took the job. That sort of ratio is super high.
Take for example last year’s Premier League campaign. The highest ratio of penalties won per 90 minutes was set by Chelsea, who won 12 penalties in 38 games working out at a 0.32 per 90 ratio. England are working at a 0.35 per 90 ratio for penalties won under Southgate and that’s from a bigger sample size of matches. It’s a skill.
And it’s one of England’s most potent weapons under this manager as they have a tricky forward line, capable of winning fouls.
Meanwhile, Slovakia, who will defend deep, have already conceded a penalty at this tournament vs Romania and conceded two penalties in qualifying.
The numbers are screaming of a strong likelihood of a penalty being scored yet, the Sky Bet odds surrounding don’t mirror that. With Harry Kane’s record from the spot in mind, I’d have this bet closer to 7/4 than 5/2. And of course you have the insurance of a Slovakia penalty being scored in your favour too.
What odds would you have given for this game to be a last-16 fixture at this tournament when the full-time whistle blew after Spain’s 7-1 win over Georgia in qualifying? A million to one, maybe?
On aggregate Spain beat the Georgians 10-2 over those two matches, registering 53 shots to Georgia’s 13.
It’s no wonder Spain are 1/7 with Sky Bet to win in 90 minutes.
Although I’ve got no interest in taking Spain on, it’s hard to ignore just how much of a free-swing this really is for Georgia, who play with such spark and fluency in attack. That does make them a runner here to add to the scoring.
They have scored in 13 of their last 15 games, including in both of those meetings with Spain and in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Georges Mikautadze they carry genuine quality. Both teams to score is overpriced at 6/4 with Sky Bet.
I’ve been disappointed with both teams so far but the tournament could just start here for both. They are hard to read.
What is glaringly obvious though is that Belgium’s back four, especially Wout Faes and Jan Vertonghen, are going to struggle to handle Kylian Mbappe. That could be the decisive factor.
If somehow Belgium are going to progress then they’ll have to rely on some variance with France’s finishing and hope that Kevin De Bruyne remains in the form we’ve seen from him in this tournament.
He’s been the heartbeat, playing as a roaming no.10. This type of big occasion is made for players of his ilk and it’s his shot on target prices that standout here. The 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to register an effort on target looks big considering how involved he is in the final third and that he’s already had five shots on target at the tournament.
Forget Cristiano Ronaldo. The main man for Portugal is Bruno Fernandes.
Once Roberto Martinez figures that out, the better Portugal will be for it. Ronaldo has now scored just one non-penalty goal in his last 11 matches for Portugal at major international tournaments and his presence is becoming a problem and a sideshow.
Meanwhile, Fernandes is in the prime of his career now and showed in qualifying that he’s the key to Portugal delivering on the big stage. He grabbed 14 goal contributions and found the net in one of his two starts in the group stages. I’m expecting him to kick on in the knockout stages, starting with what looks a real one-sided contest with Slovenia. The 11/4 with Sky Bet for Fernandes to score in a Portugal win looks a nice price.
For someone who has got 11 assists in his last 22 starts for his country, Denzel Dumfries is being grossly underrated by the Sky Bet markets.
When you factor in how heavily fancied Netherlands are and their expected goals return is to score over two goals, the 9/2 on Dumfries assisting a goal really does appeal. Those odds imply a probability of about 18 per cent, I’d have it closer to 30 per cent based on the data and how dangerous Dumfries is down the Netherlands’ right flank.
The next two weeks should be an exciting ride for punters like me who backed Austria pre-tournament. The 80/1 shots are now 16/1. Not only have Ralf Rangnick’s side showed themselves to be a force, they’ve also landed in the weaker half of the draw after playing no-fear football that saw them top the group.
A collision course with Turkey here could just be the game of tournament. It’s shaping up to be beautiful chaos.
Austria will press hard and fast while Turkey are full of outstanding and exciting individual players in attack that are allowed to express themselves. To the backdrop of this there are two defences that are liable to make mistakes. It just screams goals and cards.
Keeping the over cards lines on your side should prove a profitable call in the knockout rounds. Since Euro 1996 in the knockouts, the average cards per 90-minute stands at a whopping 4.76 and in last 16 matches of the last two Euros, 13 of 16 games saw over 3.5 cards land. If you combine over 2.5 goals here with 40+ booking points using the Bet Builder, you can conjure up a 6/4 shot with Sky Bet.
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