England have never won the European Championship and are for the moment 14/1 to do so in 2016 despite a perfect start to their qualifying group. Looking at the Euro Cup betting, still there’s not too many that really believe in England. They won all four of their games in 2014 following a dismal performance at the World Cup in the summer.
They have twice reached the semi-finals of the tournament, losing to Yugoslavia in 1968 and Germany in 1996. It could be argued that the defeat to Germany was the last time that England seriously challenged for a major trophy. There was undoubtedly a wave of optimism behind the team managed by Terry Venables who went so close to reaching the final on home soil that year.
Many questioned whether Roy Hodgson would remain in charge after the World Cup finals with England having acquired a solitary point from their group. Painful defeats against Italy and Uruguay reminded English supporters just how far the nation’s team had fallen below the world’s elite.
Hodgson was appointed in 2012 at a time when many expected Harry Redknapp to take charge. This will be Hodgson’s second European Championships having taken the job from Fabio Capello with England already qualified for the finals. After winning their group, they were beaten on penalties by Italy in the quarter-finals. The team were generally regarded as having exceeded expectations. This time he is taking his own team to the finals but they are still regarded as outsiders.
Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard retired from International football following the World Cup and Hodgson appointed Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as captain.
Rooney became the youngest player ever to represent England when he made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2003. In November 2014 he received his 100th cap for his country and scored as England won their fourth consecutive qualifying game against Slovenia 3-1. Rooney was also appointed captain of his club side at the start of the 2014-15 season by new coach Louis van Gaal. His goal against Slovenia was his 44th for England, just five short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record.
While many people still regard Wayne Rooney as England’s most dangerous player, he is increasingly being used in a supporting role to Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck.
His former team-mate signed for the Gunners in September 2014 in a shock move and his England career has taken off since. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been playing him in a more central role than that which he occupied at Old Trafford. He scored the first hat-trick of his career in a Champions League game against Galatasaray and scored doubles in two of England’s opening four qualifying matches.
Daniel Sturridge was England’s main striker before his injury-hit start to the season. The Liverpool player may find himself behind Welbeck in the pecking order when he returns to full fitness.
West Brom’s Saido Berahino was called into the squad for the first time in November 2014 having become the top scoring Englishman in the Premier League in the first ten games of the season. It is hoped that he will continue to make progress in 2015 while the creativity of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley all have chances of making the finals of Euro 2016.
Prospects and Odds
Roy Hodgson’s team is currently a mixture of experience and youth but most pundits believe that there are not enough star players to make a serious challenge at Euro 2016. There are still plenty of issues to be resolved including the full-backs and best midfield players.
Joe Hart seems to have re-established himself in goal with Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill occupying central defence. Hodgson has a choice of full-backs with Leighton Baines, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne all in contention. The loss of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in midfield has opened up the way for Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson but there is plenty of competition including James Milner and Adam Lallana.
It will be difficult for England to measure their progress as they seem likely to win their group decisively against moderate opposition. Friendlies have little relevance these days and England are unlikely to be any shorter than 14-1 in odds when the tournament begins. More betting odds on England will follow closer to the tournament.