Betting special: The long shots capable of springing a surprise at Euro 2012

The European Championships produced shock winners with Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004. Willie Duncan examines who could take on the role of tournament dark horses this year
The recent history of the European Championship has suggested that one of the tournament dark horses could follow in the footsteps of Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004 and upset the odds. So, which long shots could prove to be profitable for punters this summer?

Group betting:

Despite being drawn into an extremely tough group alongside Germany and Portugal, Netherlands look to represent decent value at 9/5 (2.80) with Bet365 to top Group B. While Joachim Low’s Germany are likely to have a strong tournament, they are often slow starters and, in fact, finished second in their 2010 World Cup group before advancing to the semi-finals.

However, Group A looks to be the weakest group by a considerable distance with all four teams capable of taking points from one another and the experienced Czech Republic look to be the pick of the dark horses to emerge triumphant from their section and should be backed at a chunky 4/1 (5.0) with Bet365.

Top goalscorer:

The top scorer market at major tournaments can often provide real value and this year’s European Championship is no different in that regard. Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands netted four times in the 2010 World Cup but the Dutch midfielder is chalked up at a tasty 33/1 (34.0) with Bet365 to end the tournament as top scorer.

German star Thomas Muller was the top marksman in South Africa two years ago with five goals and he is 25/1 (26.0) with Bet365 to repeat that feat this summer but his team-mate Lukas Podolski at 20/1 (21.0) with the same firm may represent the value here as he is likely to feature prominently for Low’s men.

Outright winner:

Should Russia emerge from Group A, they would represent decent value at 20/1 (21.0) with Bet365 but they are likely to face a very tough assignment in the last eight of the tournament, so the best selection in this market is Slaven Bilic’s Croatia.

The wily Croatians might just have enough to squeeze past inconsistent Italy in Group C and, should they achieve that, they have enough quality in the squad to cause a major upset at Euro 2012 by lifting the trophy on July 8. Bilic's side are a massive 40/1 (41.0) with Bet365 and they are lively dark horses here.

Recommended bets:

Czech Republic to win Group A at 4/1 with Bet365

Wesley Sneijder to be tournament top scorer at 33/1 (34.0) with Bet365

Croatia to win Euro 2012 at 40/1 (41.0) with Bet365

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter here.