Lewis Ambrose

With the help of football writer @LGAmbrose, the Cloudbet Blog takes a look at the quarter-finals, while our own staff comment on the action placed with Cloudbet so far.

Euro 2020 Quarter-finals

Switzerland vs Spain

The two winners of by far the most exciting round of 16 matches are in action against each other. After watching Spain beat Croatia 5-3 (after extra-time) and Switzerland dump out world champions France on penalties after a 3-3 draw, you’d be forgiven for expecting goals - but surely both teams will have learned lessons?

Switzerland, without suspended captain Granit Xhaka, face an uphill battle and will have to curb their instincts to have a shot; they’re the team with the most bookings at Euro 2020 so far, while no team has drawn as many fouls as Spain.

Everything points to in-form Spain for this one. They’ve scored 10 goals in their last two games and are the competition’s most similar team to the possession-heavy Italy side that beat Switzerland 3-0 in the group stages.

Should it go to penalties, the Swiss could have more success. Spain have missed their last five spot kicks in a row at international level, including two this summer.

Spain are firm favourites at 1.66 to win, with Switzerland at 5.98.

Belgium vs Italy

This could be the final opportunity for the so-called ‘golden generation’ of Belgium. And the timing couldn’t be much worse, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne both struggling with injury.

The pair both limped off as the Red Devils held on to knock Portugal out of the competition last weekend and even more focus will be on Thorgan Hazard, who netted the only goal in that match, and has two this summer, and star striker Romelu Lukaku, who knows a thing or two about his Italian opponents.

But Italy have looked like the competition’s strongest and most well-rounded team since the opening match, and that remains the case despite needing extra-time to beat Austria. The Italians will look to control possession in midfield and play the game on their terms, with their tricky individualists having the upper hand against an ageing Belgian backline.

Solid at the back without playing conservatively and as dangerous as anyone else in the tournament going forward, Roberto Mancini’s side are more balanced than Belgium and will fancy their chances of progressing without conceding - as long as they can keep Lukaku isolated.

Italy are favourites at 2.44 for the win, but not by a huge margin, with Belgium at 3.44.

Czech Republic vs Denmark

Two of the surprises of the tournament so far, the Czech Republic and Denmark, have made it this far with very different styles.

Only Italy (19.5) have taken more shots per 90 minutes than the Danes (18.8) at the tournament so far. Kaspre Hjulmand’s side have also had the fewest touches per 90 in their own third, and the most touches per 90 in the opposition area. They want to play the game in the opposition half and they tend to succeed.

The Czech Republic will look to keep things tight, digging their heels in and pouncing on chances to break, as they did against the Netherlands in their surprising last 16 win. That result will give them plenty of hope against another side that will look to dominate proceedings. If they can replicate their defensive performance they have  every chance of producing another upset.

Kasper Dolberg shone for the Danes against Wales but is likely to drop back to the bench with Yussuf Poulsen available for selection again, being the more physical option against a robust Czech defence.

Denmark are favoured quite heavily, at 2.14 to win, versus the Czech Republic at 4.00.

England vs Ukraine

If we’ve seen one thing from England so far this tournament, it’s not to expect fireworks. You can probably say the same for Ukraine. This has everything to be another tight, tense, low-scoring affair.

England are still yet to concede at the tournament, but have to play outside of Wembley for the first time and are likely to revert to a four-man backline after switching to a back five to deal with Germany.

Raheem Sterling has consistently proven the main man for Gareth Southgate’s side this summer, scoring three of their four goals and the opener on all three occasions. He is undroppable and by far the most likely man to get England firing again.

England have been unfortunate not to net from one of their well-worked set-pieces and the aerial threat of Harry Maguire and John Stones will be another thing to look out for, especially if dead-ball specialist Mason Mount returns to the side.

On the other side, Andrei Yarmolenko is enjoying a superb tournament, with two goals and two assists so far, and England will have their hands full with the burly Roman Yaremchuk leading the line.

England are heavy favourites at 1.44, while a Ukraine win is at 9.13

Money Talks - Probability vs The Action

Cloudbet's proprietary Money Talks feature offers a direct representation of the odds on an event (the Probability line) and of the action taken so far by Cloudbet - shown by the Money Talks line. It's important to realise that the Money Talks line represents the number of bets taken, not the amount taken from bets so far.

The result? We can immediately see if bettors are toeing the odds-implied favoured outcome or not.

For the Spain vs Switzerland match, bettors have backed Spain by more than the odds would suggest, but this is even more true as it relates to Switzerland - by about half again. Still, the balance lies heavily in Spain's favour.

For the Belgium vs Italy game, seems bettors so far are bucking the odds, heavily backing Belgium compared to the implied likelihood of a win, while Italy has received less - albeit marginally less - than the odds would imply. While the visual contrast here might seem stark, however, it's important to remember that difference in the line between the two sides, 2.44 for Italy and 3.44 for Belgium is not that great, suggesting things may still be rather tight.

While the Danish are heavily favoured in this match, the action placed on them far outweighs the odds-implied likelihood of them winning. On the other side, bets wagered on the Czech Republic are almost bang in line with the odd-implied likelihood of a win. What's been significantly squeezed here is the likelihood of a draw after 90 minutes.

And finally, Ukraine versus the heavily favoured England. Of all the quarter-finals, this one is the clearest cut in terms of the betting odds: England, according to the odds, are a shoo-in for the semifinals over a Ukraine team given little chance of winning.

But Cloudbet's Money Talk line suggests a slightly more coy approach to backing England - with only a little more than half the bets taken so far backing an England win. What's more, is that almost the same amount of bets have been placed in support of Ukraine - far outstripping the odds-implied likelihood of a Ukrainian victory.

Of course, we caution reading too much into what may lie behind this visual representation, but that said, it doesn't strike us as a huge stretch to note two potential factors here: firstly, England's form in performing at the business end of major tournaments, and secondly, given the first point, at 9.13 for a Ukraine win, well that may just be a punt that a few bettors have decided is worth taking.

Players may also want to check out the variety of specials markets available on the tournament, including the overall winner market which is now headed by England (3.00), followed by Spain (4.00) and Italy (5.30).

Jul 2, 2021

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