Group A is shaping up to be a one-horse race as host nation France is the clear favorite to win the group. Any sort of upset from within the group could come from Switzerland, however, as the side features a list of players from clubs peppered throughout UEFA.
While the group Sportsbook will almost certainly be one of those two sides, don’t look past a defensive-minded Romania or an upset-minded Albanian side that has already toppled a giant or two on its quest to get this far.
We take a look at the odds to win Group A at Euro 2016 with odds coming from online shop Sportsbook.
The host nation is, predictably, the biggest favorite out of any of the groups at online book Sportsbook and for very good reason. Not only will Les Bleus be playing on home soil, but the squad is loaded with talent from between the sticks through to the top of the formation.
Familiar names like Hugo Lloris, Laurent Koscielny, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann will be featured, but the squad also includes newcomers like Samuel Umtiti, N’Golo Kante, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman. The point, there is talent up and down the squad.
At the 2012 Euros, France won one, drew one and lost one in a group with England, Ukraine and Sweden and lost to Spain, the eventual Sportsbooks, in the quarterfinals.
Since it is hosting the tournament, France did not have to go through the qualifying process but Group A shouldn’t trouble the team very much. Switzerland shouldn’t be overlooked, but both Romania and Albania should be three points for the French.
France has done a good job of putting those horrible memories of the 2010 World Cup behind them and a win in front of the home supporters would return them to the glory days of 1998-2000.
The Swiss had a very strong qualifying campaign, finishing second in Group E with 21 points trailing only England’s 30 points.
They scored 24 goals and allowed just eight in their 10 matches and will look to build on what has to be considered an excellent World Cup in 2014 as they advanced from their group before losing to Argentina in the Round of 16.
The squad list looks really good and features the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and promising youngster Breel Embolo of FC Basel. Shaqiri led the side in goalscoring during qualification with four goals while Josip Drmić and Haris Seferović tallied three apiece.
Switzerland does present a bit of value in the group and could be an exciting side to back to win here. They should be able to prevail against Romania and Albania, so that head-to-head clash with France is shaping up to be the critical match.
Even though it had a rather easy qualification group, Romania was very tidy defensively and certainly earned its passage to France. Qualifying from a group that consisted of Northern Ireland (group Sportsbooks), Hungary, Finland, Faroe Islands and Greece doesn’t really scream “contender”, but the Tricolorii allowed just two goals and did not lose a game in qualifying.
Romania could be a candidate for UNDERs as they scored just 11 goals in its 10 qualifying contests with nine matches finishing UNDER 2.5 goals.
Paul Papp, Constantin Budescu and Bogdan Stancu paced the goal scoring in qualification with two goals apiece, but this team got this far with defending and if it is to advance from Group A in France this summer, it will have to take the same approach.
Unless you are a diehard footy fan, you won’t recognize a ton of the names on this squad list, but a couple of goalkeepers headline the selection as Fiorentina’s Ciprian Tatarusanu and Watford’s Costel Pantilimon provide a good foundation at the bottom of the formation no matter who is chosen.
It will take a herculean effort for Romania to finish ahead of France or Switzerland, but if they can mimic what they did in qualification, don’t be surprised to see them in the next stage.
Albania finished ahead of Denmark and Serbia to get here and even defeated group Sportsbooks Portugal 1-0 (in Portugal) in the process, so it was no stroke of luck that this side is here.
Still, this is the first time Albania has reached the Euros and is probably in over their head at this point as the football program evolves. In eight group matches, Albania won four, drew two and lost two and much like Romania, does not boast a ton of recognizable talent for the casual fan.
Napoli fullback Elseid Hysaj is probably the most celebrated player in the side, especially after the campaign he is coming off of. The 22-year-old is a tidy defender with excellent passing skills and will be integral to any success the Red and Blacks have in June.
At +3300, the odds are long and rightly so. Albania is developing and just not ready to make any noise in international football.
Odds as of June 3 at Sportsbook