With two cycles of Euro 96 group matches now complete, punters can reflect on some dramatic changes of fortune during the last nine days, with the promise of plenty more to come before the quarter-final line- up is complete.
England, for instance, were out to 10-1 after their opening draw with Switzerland, but they are now just 5-1 with both William Hill (6-1 from 8-1 with Ladbrokes). Italy, by contrast, were close to outright favouritism after beating Russia, but they must now be odds against even making the quarter-finals following their loss to the Czech Republic, whose 40-1 quote with Ladbrokes seems remarkable when a place in the next round is still within their grasp.
The over-riding impression after the matches so far is that almost all the sides are capable, on their day, of beating any of the others, and it would be foolish to take a short price about any side, in particular those such as France or Italy who may not even be in the tournament by Wednesday night.
If Ladbrokes are correct, though, home fans can start trying to work out who England will meet in their Wembley quarter-final, since a draw with the Netherlands tomorrow would be enough to send them through as group winners. …