Iceland shocked the footballing world with their thoroughly deserved win over England on Monday, and the Three Lions shock exit means Wales will fly the flag for the home nations in this weekend’s quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
BetVictor brand ambassador Michael Owen has been with Germany from the outset and the world champions have joined hosts France at the top of the outright market with BetVictor at 3/1.
Michael’s thoughts on the four quarter finals are below but before that he focussed his attentions on who he believes should succeed Roy Hodgson and suggests the time is right for Glenn Hoddle to return to the England fold.
Next England manager: Glenn Hoddle; he is so knowledgeable and one of the best, if not the best, coaches I have ever played under. Of course he carries some baggage with him but I honestly believe he is the man for the job; I remember watching him in training when he was England manager and he was awesome, tactically astute and someone the whole squad had great respect for.
Poland v Portugal
Portugal are the only team to have reached the last eight of the European Championships in every tournament since 1996 and I think they will make it into what would be a fifth semi-final in seven Euro finals appearances.
That is some record but they have limped their way into the quarter-finals in France, and it might be more of the same against a Poland side who have scored just three times in four games yet still find themselves in the last eight.
It is unlikely to be a classic; Poland have yet to trail at any point in this year’s tournament-until now.
Michael’s recommendations: Portugal to win and both teams to score at 5/1, Portugal to win 2-1 19/2.
Wales v Belgium
Wales disappointed me against Northern Ireland and one shot on target in the whole game, and that a Gareth Bale free-kick, suggests they will have to improve if they are to keep out a Belgium side who look to be hitting their best form at just the right time.
Wales didn’t concede a goal in two games against Belgium in qualification and the last three internationals between the sides has seen just three goals - but this is a confident Belgium team who fancy their chances of going all the way.
Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne cannot, and will not, be afforded the time and space by Wales that Hungary allowed in the last round but this is where, I am afraid, I can see the Welsh adventure coming to a halt.
Michael’s recommendations: Belgium 8/11, Belgium ht/ft 19/10.
Germany v Italy
Much has been written about Germany’s poor record against Italy in major tournaments with the Azzurri unbeaten in eight games at major championships against Die Mannschaft and having won all four games played in the knock out stages.
The said Germany ran out convincing 4-1 winners when the sides met earlier in the year in Munich and I see no reason to desert the world champions despite Antonio Conte’s side being excellent value for their win against a tired and ageing Spain on Monday.
Michael’s recommendations: Germany to win 6/5, Germany to win to nil at 85/40.
France v Iceland
Iceland have never beaten France in their 11 previous clashes and, for all England’s deficiencies in Nice, they were excellent against Roy Hodgson’s men and thoroughly deserve their place in the last eight.
The cream tends to rise about now, however, and Antoine Griezmann has now scored three of Les Bleus last four goals. The Atletico Madrid striker has never scored at the Stade de France and will want to address that particular stat on Sunday evening. Both sides have scored in all four of Iceland’s games in France to date, and the last two games between the sides have both finished 3-2 to France.
I expect to see a more comfortable win in Paris on Sunday evening.
Michael’s recommendations: Griezmann to score at anytime 11/8, France -1 5/4.