Summer Lovin – SBC’s 2015 summer football guide…

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There may not be a football World Cup in 2015 but SBC’s Sam Cooke highlights the summer months best international football tournaments and odds to keep you busy!

The Premier League’s over until September, and with only a final or two to sustain us for now, the end is nigh,and the post-season blues will be setting in all too soon.

After the excitement of 2014, this is one of those in between summers with no Euros, and no World Cup. But fear not, as all hope is not lost, summer 2015 has some terrific football in store if you know where to look.

Below is your summer 2015 footballing events calendar, with complimentary betting advice. Don’t resort to putting the cricket on.

UEFA U- 21 European Championship (17 – 30 Jun) 

2015_UEFA_European_Under-21_Championship.png

Who are the favourites?

Germany (9/4), England (4/1), and Portugal (6/1).

Where can I watch it?

BT Sports have the exclusive rights to this summer’s tournament, so either get BT, make friends with somebody that has BT, or get down the pub. Fortunately it’s in the Czech Republic meaning no antisocial kick off times.

A closer look

It’s been awhile since England were amongst the bookmakers’ favourites at an international tournament. There’s far more than just wishful thinking behind it too; Gareth Southgate’s side have looked very impressive in recent months. They’ve beaten both Germany (March 2015) and Portugal (November 2014), and were unbeaten in qualifying (winning nine and drawing one), before beating Croatia in the play-offs. SkyBet are offering the best odds of 5/1 for England to triumph this summer.

Of course news that man-in-demand, Harry Kane, will be going to the Czech Republic brightens England’s chances of success no end. The England frontline as a whole is quite formidable; there’s top scorer in qualifying Saido Berahino (10 goals in 10 games), as well as Danny Ings, and Benik Afobe. In part due to Kane’s new found star status, Berahino is well priced at 5/2 with Coral to be England’s top scorer.

The combined goals in their domestic leagues for this side’s top four strikers this season stands at 69; Kane (21), Berahino (14), Ings (11), and Afobe (23). This is not to mention cup goals; for example Afobe struck twice against Man Utd in Mk Dons’ 4-0 victory, and that was after coming on as a substitute.

England to reach the final has to be worth a punt at 9/5 with Paddy Power.

Other notable players are Derby’s Will Hughes, James Ward-Prowse, and John Stones.

Away from the England camp, the dark horse of the competition are arguably Serbia. They were solid in qualifying, and knocked out the holders Spain in the play-offs over two legs. They have Dortmund’s Milos Jojic, Cordoba’s Aleksandar Pantic, and Aleksandar Pesic of Ligue 1 side Toulouse in their squad

Serbia are in a group with Denmark, hosts the Czech Republic, and strong favourites Germany, who have the likes of Phillip Hoffman, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Serge Gnabry at their disposal .Serbia and Germany to qualify from Group A is at 2/1 with BetVictor.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 (6 Jun – 5 Jul) 

967px-2015_FIFA_Women's_World_Cup_logo.svg.png

Who are the favourites?

USA (3/1), Germany (3/1), Brazil (8/1), and Japan (8/1), and France (7/1).

Where can I watch it?

The BBC have secured the rights to every match. Kick off times are very varied between 6pm, and 2am UK time

  • England Women’s matches are noted below.
  • France – Tuesday June 9th – 6pm
  • Mexico – Saturday June 13th – 9pm
  • Colombia – Wednesday June 17th – 9pm
  • The final is Monday 6th July at midnight.

A closer look

The two strongest national teams in the world of women’s football are undoubtedly Germany and the USA. The Germans will be looking to add their third World Cup to their collection, having already won in 2003 and 2007. The US meanwhile won in 1999, and lost to Japan last time around on penalties in the final. Across the major bookmakers these two are very closely tied as favourites.

In Nadine Angerer, the German keeper, they have the FIFA World Player of the Year, who’s announced her retirement post-World Cup. This is a side which in qualifying won ten of ten games, scoring 62 in the process, and conceding just four. They’ve also won the last six consecutive European Championships. They’re ranked first in the world for a reason. Angerer will be looking to bow out on a high, and Germany to win the competition is available at best odds of 4/1 with Unibet.

In Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, and Alex Morgan the US have a host of stars, and will prove Germany’s toughest test. Due to the current gulf in quality amongst the national women’s sides, and a distinct lack of variety in betting markets, it’s relatively tough to find value in betting on this competition.

Anticipating the group qualifiers appears the best route to go down, and as such a little insider information can help enormously. France are an attacking side who are exciting to watch, in a rich vein of form, and due to a lack of past accolades they lack excessive media and fan expectation.

They are the ‘dark horse’ vote, a debatable term in this instance due to their ranking of third worldwide, but the odds are favourable and William Hill have them at 9/1 to win outright. Only the Germans scored more in qualifying, whilst England scored just two less; their combined total in 20 matches was 106 goals. This fixture should therefore mean goals and, with both these sides in Group F, over 2.5 goals in the England v France game is a sensible option at 1.85.

Despite being in the tournament’s group of death, Nigeria are a side with an outside chance of success. In Asisat Oshoala, they have African women’s player of the year, and the player of the tournament at last summer’s Under-20 World Cup. She recently signed a deal with Liverpool. Due to the tournament organisation, four third-placed teams in the groups will have the chance to progress. Whilst the US and Sweden seem highly likely to claim first and second, Nigeria will be fighting tooth and nail with Australia for third. The team to earn a draw against Sweden is available with BetVictor at a very worthwhile 14/1.

 Copa America (11 Jun – 4 Jul)

Who are the favourites?2015_Copa_América.png

Argentina (9/4), Brazil (3/1), Chile (9/2), and Colombia (11/2).

Where can I watch it?

Premier Sports has the exclusive access to all matches, including the final, for this one. It’s Sky Channel 428, and subscription is £11.99 per month, or £7.99 if you’re with Virgin Media.

Kick off times in the UK are between 8pm and 1am.

A closer look

It’s not just due to their host status that Chile have made it into many bookies’ third favourites to win this year’s Copa America. A group featuring Mexico, Bolivia, and Ecuador should pose no real problems, with the possible exception of the Mexicans. At club level, this year has been Alexis Sanchez’s most goal-filled to date. He’s hit 24 for Arsenal, and at the Copa he’ll have Arturo Vidal supplying him, and co-terrorising defences. Eduardo Vargas (whose international record of 18 goals in 30 games speaks for itself) may not be at his best due to his recent knee ligament injury but if he’s fit, he’s dangerous.

Gary Medel is another who’s playing off the back of a good season at Inter, whilst Claudio Bravo was magnificent for Barcelona winning the first ever Ricardo Zamora Trophy. This is an award given to the La Liga keeper with the best goals against average, Bravo conceded just 19 goals in 37 league games. Of course host status does have a history of importance at Copa America, of 40 tournaments with a host nation, the host country has won 19 times. A Brazil and Chile final is on offer at 10/1 with SkyBet, whilst the Chileans to win outright is at 9/2 with Bet365.  

Whilst Radamel Falcao didn’t have the best of times at Old Trafford this year, teammate Jackson Martinez scored 28 goals across competitions; the third consecutive season the striker’s hit more than 20 goals. Colombia are in a group with Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. Arsenal, Man Utd, and Liverpool are all reportedly hot on the heels of the striker, who’s hit 10 in 35 games for Colombia. Odds for Martinez to be crowned the tournament’s top scorer are 25/1 with BetVictor. Having James Rodriguez to create chances should help matters too. Of course Falcao still may be given preference, despite his torrid season, and the Monaco man is at 18/1 with SkyBet to be top scorer.

With Rodriguez, Falcao, and Martinez working in tandem Colombia are guaranteed some goals; Colombia to be the highest scoring team is at 8/1, with no value in the Argentinians to do the same at 5/4.  Moreover with group games against Peru and Venezuela the Colombians have a real chance of scoring freely.

2015

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