Iceland are in the quarter-finals. Unbelievable? Not if ask any Dutch football fans over the last twelve months and Will Burns thinks that hosts France will need to tread carefully on Sunday night to avoid an upset.
Sunday 3rd July 2016 – 20:00 BST
EURO 2016 – QUARTER-FINALS
FRANCE v ICELAND
After viewing the performances of France and Iceland throughout the tournament, the hosts price in this contest is incredibly short (1.45 at 888Sport) in my view and we should keep away from this. Lars Lagerback’s side have proven they have what it takes to upset teams, even though they barely needed to turn up against England.
Due to my obsession with Dutch football, I have observed Iceland in a quite a few games over the past 18 months, and nothing has changed: tactically sound, great teamwork and understanding with constantly committed performances.
They are dreaming of a semi-final after their unexpected win over Roy Hodgson’s England. History shows that they have never beaten France in their previous 11 meetings, losing eight of them, and it would take a remarkable performance for them to knock out one of the favourites of the competition here. Although the French were forced to come from behind to beat the Republic of Ireland in the last round and now four games in, have failed to produce a convincing display.
Defensively France have lived dangerously and this will not be helped on Sunday when with a consistent member of the back four, Adil Rami and holding midfielder N’Golo Kante have reached the yellow card limit. Samuel Umtiti has reportedly been given the nod to start over Eliaquim Mangala in defence, while it is likely Yohan Cabaye or Morgan Schneiderlin will start in place of Kante. As you can expect, Iceland will be unchanged.
Much like England, Iceland could really frustrate the hosts on Sunday and could actually knock them out of the competition. After all… Wales have made it in the semi-finals.
Let’s get to the tips and I feel I have found some real value.
Two of France’s four outings this tournament have featured three goals. They have yet to concede a goal in open play but have stupidly given away two penalties and been shaky. Likewise, two of Iceland’s four games have featured three goals and they are yet to keep a clean sheet so it is highly unlikely they will manage to shut out Dimitri Payet, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann. I see Lagerback instructing his men to come out and take risks at some point. Over 2.5 Goals is best priced at 2.05 at 888Sport.
Corners Handicap looks a fantastic market in this match. Basically, Iceland have lost all four games on corners (11-2 v Portugal, 5-3 v Hungary, 7-3 v Austria, 7-2 v England) while France won all four (9-1 v Ireland, 10-5 v Switzerland, 6-4 v Albania, 5-4 v Romania). Looking at those stats, France to win by five corners or more is valued at 2.30 at PaddyPower and it looks a huge price.
If you’re willing to risk a small stake, Iceland to win in 90 minutes is 8/1 at Bet365 and could provide us with a nice pot to take into the semi-final betting.
If you’re betting… good luck!
TIP: Over 2.5 Goals (2.05 at 888Sport)
TIP: France -5 Corners (2.30 at PaddyPower)