Match 51: the final.
There’s no room for England, Wales, or either Irish outfit, but it should be a thrilling finale to Euro 2016 as host nation France take on Cristiano Ronaldo and co at the Stade de France. For the winner, it will be the ultimate glory.
The first big question is what channel to watch it on (we’ll be BBC…just), and the second is where to place your bets. Here’s what you need to know.
Sunday’s Match: France V Portugal (8PM. BBC & ITV)
The stage is set. Two teams will arrive, but only one can leave with the trophy. And for one player, a place amongst the football Gods await. Quite simply, there’s nothing like the final of a major tournament, and we can barely contain our excitement.
Despite showing a few home nerves early on, the French have bulldozed their way to the final. A dominant win over Iceland was followed by a fantastic 2-0 triumph over Germany. Perhaps most importantly, Didier Deschamps’ men showed that they are capable of weathering the storm.
However, stopping Ronaldo is another job altogether. The Portugal captain has the bit between his teeth, especially after drawing level with Michel Platini’s goalscoring record. Bagging the winner to fire his country to its first major trophy would be typical of the Real Madrid hero. While he isn’t the only decent player that they boast, he is the main attraction.
The underdogs will be hoping to see Pepe return at the back too while Renato Sanches and Nani can be key for Portugal too. One way or the other, it will be a truly memorable occasion. Hopefully it’ll be a memorable one for our betting balance too.
Toe Punter v The Bookies
On the betting front, the semi-finals were a microcosm of our tournament as a whole. We made a little profit, but it could’ve been so much more. A full £10 stake on Neuer; an extra England corner against Iceland; a couple of extra goals here or there. Any of those could have sent our returns through the roof, but at least we are in front.
And we’ll be looking to keep it that way with our bets on the final. Firstly, we think that both sides are better in attack than defence. Finals can always be a little tentative, but the semi-finals are usually where we see the most defensive play.
With the two best attacking players in the tournament on the pitch, as well as Nani and Dimitri Payet in the supporting cast, we fancy both teams to find the target.
Bet: BTTS @ 13/10 with BetVictor (£10 stake)
It’s hard to rule out France on home soil, and we have to edge with them. However, with Ronaldo in attack, Portugal certainly have a chance.
Unsurprisingly, Portugal have grown into the tournament just as Ronaldo found his feet. So much has been made about his free-kicks that we wouldn’t be surprised if he scores one. If not, his thunderbolts have always bring the possibility of an open play screamer. At 20/1, he’s gotta be worth a punt.
Bet: Cristiano Ronaldo to score from outside the box @ 20/1 with SkyBet (£10 stake)