Romania U21 v Croatia U21
Tuesday June 18, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football
Romania under-rated so bet accordingly
Probably not the sexiest match of the tournament but let's not let that stop us trying to make some money from it.
Romania have little or no pedigree when it comes to this competition. It's been 21 years since their name was even in the hat. They only played in the 1998 edition because they were hosts and hardly covered themselves in glory there.
But any side who can get the better of Portugal – as Romania did in qualifying – deserves some respect. Over 10 matches the cream tends to rise to the top and, in what was one of the tougher groups on paper, it's a huge credit to Romania that they went the whole campaign unbeaten, racking up seven wins and three draws. That included beating Portugal away (2-1) and drawing 1-1 on home soil against them.
Romania's man to look out for is Ianis Hagi. Ah, recognise the surname, do you? Not only is he the son of the great Gheorghe – almost certainly Romania's best-ever player – but he also made his debut at the side his father was then managing (Viitorul), plays in the same sort of free role his dad did and unsurprisingly wears the same number 10 shirt.
He'll be up against a Croatia side where the big name is Nikola Vlasic. The Everton midfielder spent the season on loan at CSKA Moscow and got the game time he's been craving, including playing a big part in their Champions League campaign that included scoring the winner against Real Madrid.
Croatia won their group as well, but only on goal difference. It meant that unlike runners-up Greece, they qualified directly rather than via a play-off; a rarity indeed. You'd have to go back to 2004 for the last time they were at the European Under 21 Championships.
All in all, this is a similar scenario to the Poland v Belgium match on day one. Back then, we felt that Belgium were inexplicably short to win that game when nothing about their recent results suggested that they should have been anything more than warm favourites. As it happens, Poland won 3-2 so that came good but even the draw would have done us just fine.
So here we go again. Croatia are even money for no particularly good reason, given what we now about both sides and how little experience they have of being at this tournament.
It's not the most daring bet in the world but keeping Romania and the draw on our side is certainly the way to go here at 4/5.
England U21 v France U21
Tuesday June 18, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football
Tammy to help England to at least a point
We're not sure how they go about the scheduling for this tournament but this is the second case of the group's big game coming first up, after a similar thing happened in Group A with favourites Spain and Italy playing their all-important match straight away.
This match is a curious case. France are shorter in the betting to win the whole tournament at 3/1 to England's 7/2 but somehow England are favourites to win this game. A bit odd and a right shame because we would have liked to side with England to win if they had been underdogs, which we expected them to be.
But the theory remains that England are just as good a side as France. As mentioned in the winner's market preview, there are plenty of players in this team who won the Under 20 World Cup a couple of years ago and that experience will have prepared them well for this event.
There really wasn't much to choose between them in qualifying with both in similar sort of groups in terms of difficulty and France racking up 28 points to England's 26; both remained unbeaten.
It is after all England who are higher in the rankings though (3rd to France's 7th) and they bring plenty of players into this game in excellent form, even though most of them haven't played for a few weeks, of course. Tammy Abraham for example was crucial in Aston Villa getting promoted while Phil Foden was starting games at Man City towards the end of the season. France have their own weapons of course with Houssem Aouar of Lyon highly praised by none other than Pep Guardiola (above) and club team-mate Moussa Dembele also coming off the back of a good season.
But as part of a same-game multi we'll take England on the double chance market, sticking to the opinion that they're at worst as good a side and that the draw is a lively runner.
As hinted already, Tammy Abraham showed us what the fuss is all about with a fine season at Villa. Twenty-six goals in 41 matches is an excellent return for such a young player in a league as physical as The Championship. It helps when you're 6ft 3 and powerfully built; this lad can look after himself.
Interestingly, he didn't always play in the qualifying campaign but still got three goals. His overall record of eight goals from 22 matches at Under 21 level isn't fantastic but then again it includes quite a few substitute appearances.
The temptation to start a powerful player like him coming off the back of a fine season is too good for coach Aidy Boothroyd to turn down, so he should start here. 7/5 is a decent price about him scoring against a team who conceded in five of their 10 matches in qualifying.
The double comes to 2.84.
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