Friday night football picks kearney hub sports blog
Italy - 8/1, portugal - 8/1, netherlands - 12/1.Denmark - 25/1, croatia - 28/1, ben Grounds: Format favours Azzurri.Image: Roberto Mancini has got Italy believing again.The path could become clear for England should they generate momentum heading into a semi-final at Wembley in front of their supporters, but a lot of work will be needed before then.The circumstances have to some degree conspired against Southgate, with a host of players facing a race against time to declare themselves fit.
Another valiant quarter-final exit would represent par.The pressure is again on this golden generation of Belgium to deliver while Didier Deschamps has addressed the one slight weakness in his France squad by recalling Karim Benzema, who will provide an upgrade on Olivier Giroud as a focal point.2:41, highlights of the international friendly between Italy and Czech Republic.
But I'm tipping Italy as surprise winners.I watched Roberto Mancini's side dismantle Czech Republic at the weekend, and the way in which they approached the warm-up game was in stark contrast to how England's two friendlies in Middlesbrough played out.This is the best-looking Azzurri side in years, arriving off the back of a perfect qualification campaign, and the format favours them.They will win Group A having played all three games in Rome, and then face the third-placed team in Group C - the so-called weakest group involving the Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia - for a place in the quarters.
Gerard Brand: Portugal to repeat 2016 heroics.Image: Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Portugal.France are rightly favourites, but I fancy Portugal to continue their impressive record at European Championships, without the need to stink their way through the four weeks to quite the same degree as five years ago.At both ends, this side is far stronger than the 2016 winners, who won just one of their seven games in 90 minutes.Manchester City trio Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva have had fine seasons, as have Bruno Fernandes across Manchester, and Diogo Jota in fits and starts in his debut year with Liverpool.Also See: They have depth in midfield; Danilo Pereira and William Carvalho can offer protection at the base, and Wolves pair Ruben Neves (20 caps) and Joao Moutinho (130 caps) are pass-masters at opposite ends of their careers.