I was lucky enough to be invited to the exclusive BetFair Euros 2016 preview night this week, including an expert panel of ex-Liverpool and England midfielder Danny Murphy, ex-Man City and England winger Trevor Sinclair, BT Sport’s European Football expert James Horncastle and Bundesliga commentator and betting tipster Kev Hatchard. I would highly recommend their Euros 2016 Punters Guide.
I don’t think I’m alone in having become fairly apathetic about the English national team over the last 10 years. My favourite tournament, again not unusual for my generation, is still Euro ’96 and I don’t feel like I have been truly excited about England in a national tournament since Euro 2000. Being a Liverpool fan has also played its part. Although I’m not from Liverpool I lived there for 10 years during my 20s and it is my adopted city and Liverpool as a city and as a club is very different to rest of the country. There is very much a feeling of looking outwards to Ireland, Europe and America in Liverpool as opposed to inwards to a jingoist and nationalistic England. Add in the fact that Liverpool has been demonised, neglected and literally left to decline by Conservative governments over the years and a southern elite you can understand it.
But I digress, this is meant to be a Euros preview and not a political rant, so despite all of that apathy over the last few years I am genuinely quite excited about the tournament this year and even England’s chances. The BetFair preview night only helped to fuel that excitement, the panel were fantastic providing some great insight and a lot of laughs and I was very pleased to meet Danny Murphy briefly.
Talk on the night included Croatia being quite well fancied outsiders and the fact that everyone expects Wales to give a good account of themselves. Muller was seen as a good shout for top scorer and I don’t think many would argue with that. We’d love to think that Kane would be a decent shout as well, but of course it is all so dependent on how far we progress and I have a feeling the group stages will be pretty cagey.
So here are my hugely ill informed shouts for the tournament…
And I’ve got Belgium in a sweepstake, so have a half decent chance there as well.
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