How the Bookies See it
- France v Romania: France 4/11, Draw 4/1, Romania 11/1 - Ladbrokes
- Wales v Slovakia: Wales 15/8, Slovakia 15/8, Draw 2/1 - Bet365
- England v Russia: England 19/20, Draw 12/5, Russia 10/3 - Paddy Power
- France have won their last four friendly matches since losing to England at Wembley in November. Romania came through qualifying with an unbeaten record, but their friendly results in the last few months have been mixed, including creditable draws against Italy and Spain, a convincing 5-1 victory over Georgia but also a defeat by Ukraine and 1-1 draw with DR Congo.
- Wales lost 3-0 to Sweden in their final warm-up match, having also been beaten by Ukraine and drawn with Northern Ireland. Slovakia have also drawn with Northern Ireland going into the tournament, but are unbeaten in eight matches and notably beat Germany 3-1 in Augsburg last month.
- England have won their three friendlies since the end of the season and, apart from a defeat by the Netherlands in March, have had a stunning run of victories. They were the only team to win all ten qualifying matches. Russia have not won any of their past three matches, having lost to France and Czech Republic and drawn with Serbia.
France have been installed as the favourites to win Euro 2016 and are firmly backed by the bookies to get off to a winning start against Romania. They should win and have an exciting squad which will be roared on by a partisan Paris crowd, but they have not played a competitive fixture since the 2014 World Cup and odds of 4/11 aren’t that tempting. Romania only conceded two goals in ten qualifying games and will be hard to break down, so a better bet may be the under 2.5 total goals option at around 4/5 with most bookies.
The bookies seem undecided on Wales vs Slovakia, with decent odds available for all three outcomes. Looking at the form, Slovakia should be the more fancied side, but the Gareth Bale factor does muddy the waters somewhat. The Real Madrid superstar is the favourite to score anytime at 31/20 with BetVictor and could be worth a punt as playing for his country does bring out the best in him, even though he is sure to be very closely shackled by a solid Slovakia defence.
England fans may feel their team has a habit of underperforming on the big stage, but recent history suggests they should be too strong for Russia. Roy Hodgson’s likely starting XI is full of young talent and Harry Kane may be the one to watch after a splendid season for Tottenham Hotspur. Russia were far from impressive in their qualifying campaign and, although things did pick up after they sacked former England boss Fabio Capello last July, recent friendly defeats will have dented their confidence and their squad does not appear to have the class to trouble England.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Harry Kane to score and England to win - 3/1 at Sky Bet