Could underdog Finland shock at Euro 2020?
Nothing brings life to a tournament like an out-of-nowhere run, and this tournament has had its share of Cinderellas. In 2016, tiny Iceland not only finished second in Group F, but they took down England in the round of 16. In 2004, Greece beat hosts Portugal, France and then Portugal again to win the tournament. In 1992, Denmark beat France, Netherlands and Germany to win it all.
Predicting such a run is impossible -- if you saw it coming, it wouldn't be a Cinderella run -- but this tournament does offer a couple of particularly intriguing candidates.
- Denmark (betting odds per Caesars: +2800). This tournament features basically two betting tiers: the favorites (France, England, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Netherlands) ... and everyone else. The former group all has odds of +450 (equivalent to an 18% chance of winning) to +1200 (8%), the latter is all at +2800 (3%) or lower.
Denmark leads the latter group, and it's not difficult to see why. For starters, they get to play all of their group-stage matches at home in Copenhagen. Group B favorite Belgium has to come to them. Beyond that, the squad is loaded with sturdy professionals everywhere you look.
- RB Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen and Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite up front
- Tottenham's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Inter's Christian Eriksen and Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Delaney in midfield
- Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Milan's Simon Kjaer, Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard and Fulham's Joachim Andersen in defense
- Leicester's stalwart Kasper Schmeichel in goal
Belgium might be the Group B favorite, but a shades-of-1992 Danish run isn't that hard to imagine.
Austria (+8000). If you feel Denmark's odds are too good and that a Danish run is too predictable to be a "Next Iceland" candidate, let's dive a little deeper. Outside of the eight betting favorites, here are the squads that had the most players in Europe's Big 5 leagues (English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish Primera Division, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1) this past season:
1. Austria (21)
2. Switzerland (18)
3. Denmark (17)
4. Wales (14)
5T. Croatia and Turkey (12)
That might not be who you were expecting atop the list. For a long shot, Austria has massive talent: Bayern-turned-Real Madrid defender David Alaba, RB Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, Hoffenheim attacking midfielder Christoph Baumgartner, Wolfsburg midfielder Xaver Schlager, etc. Alaba and Sabitzer both struggled a bit more in 2020-21 than they had the season before, and the team's overall form has been inconsistent. They qualified easily for the Euros, but more recently, they got overrun by Denmark 4-0 in the second half of a World Cup qualifier in March.
That's what makes them an underdog! Among those with huge odds, no underdog has more pure upside than the Austrians.