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Smart money is on Portugal for Euro 2020 – as long as Ronaldo remains fit

Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo
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The fact that we are three months into 2021 and discussing plans for Euro 2020 exemplifies what a strange few months it has been.

Yet after all the uncertainty, UEFA appears adamant that there will be no more delays and the tournament will proceed, come hell or high water, in June.

Right now, it is hard to think beyond the disappointing way the season is concluding in Turin, especially with blame being heaped on Ronaldo’s shoulders. However, once Serie A reaches its conclusion, thoughts will turn from club to country, and a tournament that might just be remembered as Ronaldo’s defining moment.

Negotiating the unknowns 

There are still more questions than answers regarding the belated Euro 2020 tournament. Indeed, while UEFA is adamant it is happening, we really know little else. Wembley is slated to host the semi-finals and the final, while the original plan was for the other fixtures to play out across 12 different cities. That number will most likely come down to reduce the amount of travel, but we should still expect a multinational set-up.  

The usual suspects – and Portugal 

As for the favorites, a glance through the NordicBet betting odds tells a familiar story. England are quoted at 5/1 at the top of the tree, alongside Belgium. This is unsurprising given that Belgium is currently the top-ranked team in the world, while England looks certain to benefit more from home-field advantage than any other team. It is probable that only domestic fans will attend games to reduce unnecessary travel, so this could provide a significant edge.  

Take a look further down the odds, and you see familiar names like France, Spain and Germany snapping at England and Belgium’s heels. But what’s this? Portugal as a 10/1 shot? Ronaldo fans should be reaching for their betting apps right now, but even the neutrals will find that a compelling choice for an each-way bet. 

A tough group 

Part of the reason for those odds is that Portugal has been drawn in the Group of Death and must get past France or Germany to proceed beyond the group stage. But German football is a wounded animal right now. Look at it this way, how many people will really be tempted to back them to go all the way at odds of 15/2? It only serves to make Portugal’s price look all the more compelling. 

Now or never for Ronaldo 

Portugal stands a real chance of knocking out a pre-tournament front runner, getting to the knockout stage and doing some more damage. But for that to happen, everything must fall just right and that includes having their talismanic star fully fit and firing on all cylinders.  

10 years ago, India won the cricket world cup in what proved to be a fairytale conclusion to Sachin Tendulkar’s career. Sachin was desperate to do this for his nation, but in equal measure, India wanted to win it for Sachin. Ronaldo and Portugal are approaching this football showdown in much the same way. If a similar dynamic can be developed between the man, the team and the nation, anything is possible.