One of the most impressive performances in match day one came from Croatia as they utterly dominated Turkey, recording a 1-0 win which puts them in an excellent position to make the last 16.
Ante Cacic's men had been talked about as potential dark horses before the tournament began thanks largely to their stellar midfield made up of three wonderful players from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter, and their victory in the opening game underlined the feeling that this team could go further than it ever has done before, with the margin of victory flattering the opposition more than being a true reflection of Croatia's dominance.
Czech Republic meanwhile, were three minutes away from a memorable draw against Spain in their opening game, although despite defending admirably for almost the entire game, Pavel Vrba's side were comfortbaly second best against the defending champions.
The manager insisted afterwards that his team would be less defensive in their next two matches, suggesting that they would have more chances against Croatia and Turkey, so perhaps we could expect a more attack minded line-up and approach from the Czechs. NetBet offer them at 18/5 (4.60) for the win while the draw can be backed at 23/10 (3.30) and a victory for the Croatians is available at a tempting looking 22/25 (1.88).
Against Turkey, Croatia hit the woodwork twice and forced keeper Volcan Babacan into several good saves and that excellent showing will give them plenty of confidence.
The Czechs for their part put in a monumental phyical effort against Spain, spending large passages of the game chasing the ball, and to lose in the final few minutes would have been a bitter blow. Not only will they have to recover physically, but mentally Vrba's side will have to try and respond, something that is not easy knowing that another defeat would probably see them eliminated from the tournament.
Croatia are worthy favourites therefore and while some fans might be tempted by the price of 61/20 (2.22) for the Balkan nation to be winning at half time and full time, the price for them to win in 90 minutes should be big enough to interest most punters.
|Croatia to win at 22/25 (1.88) for a 1.5pt stake with NetBet|