Denmark v Finland
Live on BBC1
Danes have impressive home record
Denmark famously came off the beach (a slight exaggeration but why spoil a romantic story?!) to win Euro 92 after given a last-minute slot by the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Even in that eight-team tournament they weren’t considered realistic winners but in the build-up to this 24-strong jamboree, the Danes are being cast as dangerous dark horses.
They’re 28.027/1 on the exchange which makes them ninth favourites. Given that Denmark are 10th in the FIFA World Rankings and the sixth highest European team, there’s a case that they could represent some value.
As they (1992) and Greece (2004) have proved, this tournament can throw up shock winners.
One obvious plus they have is home advantage in the group stage, with all three of their matches being played at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
Since holding England to a 0-0 draw in the Nations League back in September, Denmark have won five straight home games. Their results: 4-0 v Faroe Islands, 2-0 v Sweden, 2-1 v Iceland, 8-0 v Moldova and 2-0 v Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The latter was their final warm-up match, victory clinched by goals in each half from Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite and Parma’s Andreas Cornelius.
Finland faltering in build-up
It’s a long old scroll down the odds to find Finland in the outright betting and you’ll eventually locate them at 810.0809/1; that’s 23rd-joint favourites alongside Slovenia.
While that reflects their chances of winning, the Finns are still capable enough of making life difficult for opponents in the group stage.
And at 3.8514/5 to qualify, they’re far from no-hopers when it comes to reaching the knockout phase. Remember, 16 of the 24 teams make it through which means four of the third-placed sides progress.
Finland qualified by finishing runners-up to Italy in Group J although their campaign was either boom or bust: six wins and four losses.
Three of those defeats were in away games to the other sides finishing in the top four in that group (Italy, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina) which gives us a handle on what their limits are.
Worryingly, they head to Euro 2020 on the back of a six-game winless run. That started with a 3-1 defeat in Wales in the Nations League before they drew World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina (2-2 home) and Ukraine (1-1 away).
Since then, three defeats. A 3-2 reverse in Switzerland and back-to-back losses in recent friendlies: 2-0 in Sweden and 1-0 at home to Estonia.
Being the better team and having home advantage means Denmark are just 1.4740/85 to take victory. It’s hard to argue with the price.
Finland are 10.09/1 to pull off an opening shock while The Draw is 4.47/2.
The Nordic duo haven’t played each other since Denmark won a 2011 friendly 2-1 so recent head-to-head form doesn’t add anything.
Not that it matters as it’s hard to get away from the idea that the Danes will win the match. The main question is by how much.
On the handicap market, Denmark -1 is 2.568/5 and that would have landed in six of their last seven home matches.
That makes some appeal, as does the correct scoreline of 2-0. It’s landed in three of their last eight games and makes sense in this one.
Finland won’t roll over but they’re struggling for goals and Denmark score enough to knock a couple in. I’ll have a wager at 6.411/2.
A safer bet would be Denmark to win to nil at 1.9520/21 but I prefer to chance the 2-0.
In terms of in-play, the Danes have scored five of their last seven goals after the hour mark so, providing they don’t make an early breakthrough, there’s justification in holding tight and going in when their odds drift as the game moves towards 60 minutes. Recent history says they’ll find a way.
Teemu Pukki offers the best chance of a Finnish goal but he was absent from their recent 2-0 loss to Sweden due to an ankle injury and only got 30 minutes from the bench in the 1-0 home defeat to Estonia.
In other words, he’s hardly coming into the tournament flying.
Finland only managed one shot on target against Estonia and boss Markku Kanerva was left to lament: “Of course this result was disappointing and I had definitely hoped for more, especially in attack.”
With that in mind, it’s hard to argue with the BTTS and Over 2.5 markets.
Both teams to Score is the clear outsider at 2.727/4 while Over 2.5 goals is 2.466/4.
It’s a big tournament so time for Christian Eriksen to step up and show us why he’s the man who can take the Danes deep into the tournament. For the record, it’s 4.84/1 that Denmark reach the semi-final.
Eriksen has scored 30 goals in his last 51 internationals so odds of 3.052/1 that he nets anytime is a bet.
He’ll be on penalty duties and that could be fairly significant. There were 29 spot-kicks awarded in Russia 2018 – a record for a World Cup – and VAR could have a big part to play again.
Don’t forget that Eriksen bagged the winner from the spot in Denmark’s 1-0 Nations League win over England at Wembley last October.
If you’re looking for a Bet Builder option, Eriksen to score in a 2-0 win is approximately 13.012/1.