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Monday, 10 October 2011

Final round of Euro 2012 qualifiers - Allez France!

At last the interminably long qualifiying for the European Championships is coming to an end, around 7 million games have been played to decide that the usual teams will get to perform in Poland & Ukraine next year but there are still several automatic qualifying & playoff place spots to grab, we've researched all of the games to come up with a couple of great bets.

France are probably the only 'big guns', unless you include the perennially underperforming Portugal, who have yet to qualify for the tournament but they will be fancying their chances when they take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in Paris. The French have 20 points from their 9 games & would have expected for that to be enough to have qualified by now but the Bosnians have had a fantastic campaign & sit just one point behind. The Bosnians need to win to overtake France & book an automatic place in the finals, they can't be caught for 2nd so there is every incentive for them to go for it but that will play into France's hands. France have conceded just 3 goals in qualifying but have struggled for goals as weaker teams have played very compact football in an effort not to be beaten, with Bosnia coming at them they should be able to pick them off & get the goals needed to qualify in style. The Bosnians are giving out mixed signals with playmaker Pjanic claiming thye need a miracle whilst Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko believes they can get that miracle & turn around the form of their 2-0 defeat to France in Sarajevo. France are missing star pair Karim Benzema & Franck Ribery but they are now unbeaten in 14 matches & Laurent Blanc has his side playing with a real team ethic, they should prove far too strong in this one & can be backed with confidence at 1/2. We think the French can do this whilst keeping a clean sheet & the best bet in terms of scores looks to be backing France to win 2-0 at 6/1 with Unibet.

(Hungary can't qualify but will want to finish their campaign on a positive note)

In Group E, a dead rubber match takes place at the Puskas Ferenc Stadion between Hungary & Finland. Hungary have finished 3rd in the group despite being able to match Sweden's points haul of 21 (if they beat Finland & Netherlands defeat Sweden) as Sweden have the better head-to-head record. Hungary have won six of their nine qualifying games & have a home record of three wins from four with only the table toppers the unbeaten Netherlands being victorious. Finland have had a difficult campaign with six defeats in their nine matches & only three victories against San Marino (home & away) & at home to Moldova. On the road they have suffered defeats to the Netherlands, Sweden & Moldova with nine goals conceded and only registering the solitary goal. We expect Hungary, boosted by the return of Zoltan Gera & Balazs Dzsudzsak, to continue their fine recent form of five wins from five matches (including friendlies) at the reasonable price of 8/11.

France to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina at 1/2 (general) & France to win 2-0 at 6/1 (Unibet, 11/2 at other places)
Hungary to beat Finland at 8/11 (Victor Chandler)

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