Well it has been a fantastic run for England and we can’t really look back at this in my opinion with anything other than a bit of pride for how far they went. It was sad to watch the second half of the game and beyond yesterday evening as I guess I had built up the belief in my mind that we could go all the way but I couldn’t feel bad about what they had achieved. Maybe next time…
Looking ahead we now have the 3rd and 4th place play-off and the final to come. Belgium v England on Saturday 14th July and France v Croatia on Sunday 15th. I’m really not sure if I will watch the play-off game as they always seem a little light-weight compared to the games leading up to them. The final is different and I feel sure I will be watching that one.
As far as ASP and trading is concerned. The 3rd and 4th play-off does stack up for ASP (albeit with a high set of 0-0 odds – that could come down of course) but the problem with this game (this type of game) is that they don’t really mean anything and therefore the motivation to give it their best isn’t always inherent in the players. The market expects Belgium to win and it also expects more than 2.5 goals. However, that is now and much can change in the market over the next two days. I see no trading opportunities personally in this type of game. It is very similar in circumstance to the games you get in the Champions League between teams that can no longer qualify. Literally, anything could happen as they often totally lack any passion.
The final is a different prospect of course and, currently, it is very nearly an ASP game (albeit a little on the high side with AO odds). France are clear favourites and the expectation (currently) is for less than 3 goals. It probably doesn’t pay to read too much into past data and history but it probably would be wise to note that in 5 previous meetings, Croatia have never beaten France. But also worthy of note is that, in their last two meetings, both games ended in a draw (2-2 and 0-0). Of course, neither of those then went on to extra time. The 2-2 draw from Euro 2004 was a group stage game and the 0-0 draw in 2011 was a friendly.
Every one of Croatia’s knock out games in this tournament have gone into extra time and they looked very tired after the England game and also a little bruised and battered. France will also have had an extra day of rest and didn’t appear to be carrying any injuries at the end of their game against Belgium which, of course, got decided in the regular 90 minutes.
All of these factors point to a likely win for France and tell me that it will require a colossal effort for Croatia to overcome the enthusiastic French. I find it hard to believe that they will be able to cope with the pace and raw enthusiasm of the likes of Mbeppe and Greismann. Surely, if they continue to persist with him, Giroud of France has to finally score and if you are going to break a goal duck, when better than in the World Cup final. I’m not even going to try to predict a result but I don’t see extra time and I only see a win for France and I have (no more than) gut feeling that Giroud will finally score and reward the faith the French coach has had in him.
Will I trade it? Probably not. I am put off by the possibility of a brick wall of utter determination getting erected by Croatia. Maybe, just maybe, even with all the weariness and nagging little injuries, they just have the passion after all to want it more than the French.
I’ve enjoyed my little blogging period and I will do my best to find some time to pop in here again in the not too distant future.