The European Championship final is just days away and football fans will be disappointed to find that it invariably produces a low-scoring game. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the magnitude of the fixture, but it will give hope to those addressing the total goals market on Sunday.
Spain’s triumph over Germany four years ago came via a lone Fernando Torres strike and that was the seventh successive occasion that the European final has featured fewer than three goals within 90 minutes. The previous two finals, Spain v Germany and Greece v Portugal, have both been decided 1-0. Across the past seven finals the average number of goals during 90 minutes in the final currently stands at 1.7 per game.
Another interesting factor to come from the Euro finals is that five of the past seven have seen the victor win to nil.
England are doing better than expected, but playing as expected. Roy Hodgson has been known for his pragmatism throughout his managerial career and he’s made his mark on the Three Lions from the off. England are unbeaten through five internationals under the new management, but you would be hard pushed to find anyone that argues that they have been a joy to watch.
Barring the impressive comeback against Sweden, England have scored just one goal in each of the other four internationals since Hodgson took charge. Interestingly each England victory during that period has been 1-0 and that will have tongues wagging ahead of taking on the notoriously defensive Italians. In England’s past three international fixtures against the Azzurri, the side have scored only once.
Italy failed to score in the three warm-up fixtures for the Euros and spread sellers of total goals may also be aware that the Azzuri have averaged 0.7 goals from their past six internationals.
The old phrase ‘Luck of the Irish’ certainly rang true in Ireland’s opener with Croatia as Shay Given scored an unfortunate crucial own goal in a 3-1 defeat. Having now played the team most felt are the weakest in the group, Giovanni Trapattoni must now prepare the squad for Spain.
Sean St.Ledger’s goal on Sunday evening was the fifth straight international that Ireland have failed to score more than a goal within 90 minutes. That pattern offers plenty of encouragement for those with an interest in the Ireland Team Goal Rush market. Those past five Irish internationals have the seen the side average only 0.8 goals per game.
Total goal buyers might be put off in knowing that Spain have only scored two goals in their past two games. A lack of a striker cost the favourites against Italy and it remains to be seen if the much-maligned Fernando Torres can do the business in place of David Villa.
After getting off to a winning start, Roy Hodgson will now take charge of his first game at Wembley when England welcome Belgium to London. The contest could feature up to 17 Premier League players in the starting line-ups, with plenty of interest on Chelsea signing, Eden Hazard.
With so many world class players on the same pitch, punters might have expected there would be goals a plenty. However, recent stats beg to differ with four of England’s last seven games ending with fewer than 2.5 goals. Likewise, five of Belgium’s last nine fixtures have finished with under 2.5 goals.
England’s last four victories have all been 1-0 and Belgium have only lost one of their last 16 fixtures, which all supports that a low scoring game could be on the cards. Two of the three previous fixtures between the two nations have also contained less that 2.5 goals.
With a number of Eden Hazard’s Chelsea teammates on the opposing side, he will be keen to make a good impression. Hazard has two goals in his 27 appearances for his country and he will be looking to better that scoring record at the weekend.
Newcastle v Liverpool has long had a reputation as one of the highlights of the football calendar and the first fixture this campaign certainly lived up to the billing. With the game heading for a 1-1 draw, Steven Gerrard entered the affray with 31 minutes remaining to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 victory at Anfield. The Kop idol created one and scored one during his cameo as this fixture enhanced its standing as one of the best of the year.
One key factor is the amount of goals scored between the sides over the years. Spread bettors with an interest in the total goals market won’t mind being reminded that the 3-1 result between the clubs in December was the eighth consecutive match that there have been over 2.5 goals. In that run there have been an average of 3.62 goals per game.
Papiss Demba Cisse has taken to life in the Premier League with ease and has bagged five goals since arriving on Tyneside – including three in his last two outings for the Magpies.