Come on France, er, Sort of - (CoFeSo - Bet 1)

Top the group and avoid the Spanish blah, blah, blah…

Here at 20steps we see things a little differently. Firstly if you want to actually win the European Championships and get proper credit, then it is better to defeat the reigning champions on the way. Not only that but the runners up spot ensures no meeting with the imperious looking Germans until the final itself. Now hands up England fans who want to meet Germany in a big semi-final?

Secondly, if England come second in the group then their quarter-final will be Saturday evening and not Sunday. Nobody wants a quarter-final on Sunday night, speak to any boss in England and they are praying for the French to come top, otherwise offices, shops, garages, will be empty come Monday morning.

Lastly and most selfishly of all, come second and beat the Spanish and England’s semi-final will be on Wednesday night instead of Thursday. And here at 20steps, we don’t work Thursday.

So the upshot of all this is a big 20steps style ‘Vive la France’. Bet 1 of CoFeSo is for the French to win tidily versus Sweden and top the group, go for Les Bleus to win by the scores detailed below.

All bets to be placed at Victor Chandler. Divide your starting pound thusly…

1-0 - 27p @ 13/2

2-0 - 24p @ 15/2

3-0 - 14p @ 16/1

2-1 - 21p @ 8/1

3-1 - 14p @ 16/1

Maybe worth a cheeky punt on Rooney to score first too, the ‘barnet’ is best price 11/2 with StanJames and Coral. Come on England!

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Taxi for Ron… Eng-ger-land Memorial Stream - Bet 1 (again)

Greece have nearly gone, Poland are hanging on in there by a thread and a wonder goal, but for two teams tonight could be the end of the road. Anybody who questioned the value of England’s point on Monday afternoon should take a peek at the brown trousers currently being worn by the Dutch and Portuguese. Losing your first group match at a major tournament makes it absolutely crucial that you turn things around straight away, and for the two teams above that chance comes tonight.

Defeat for either side makes it almost impossible for them to qualify, whilst defeat for both will make their match on Saturday the mother of all wooden-spoon-offs. The Netherlands face Germany tonight in the latest installment of international football’s greatest rivalry. This is a game that would grace the final, expect excitement, tension, drama, cards, and as for the scoreline, that is anybody’s guess.

First though Portugal must face Denmark. The Dane’s, who shocked Europe in 1992 by winning the whole darned tournament, have already seen off the Netherlands and don’t bet against them providing another upset this afternoon. The Danes have won three of their last five games against The Navigators, and finished above them in qualifying for this tournament and the last World Cup.

Expect defensive style Danish Dynamite and back them to prevail in the ‘draw-no-bet’ market at 5/2 with BlueSq.

Eng-ger-land Memorial Stream

Bet 1 - £1 - Denmark to beat Portugal (draw no bet) - 5/2 with Blue Square

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A good start? EMS - Bet 1

So yesterday evening England’s fortunes mirrored those of 20steps. Just as a 1-1 draw versus France leaves us no closer to knowing whether ‘Roy’s-Boys’ will qualify from group D, so it also means that bet 1 of the Eng-ger-land memorial stream was null and void.

For 20steps that means back to the old drawing board, while I suspect for England things might be a little rosier. Last night down the ‘Lion I found myself constantly having to reassure my fellow drinkers that 1-each versus France and their friend Monsieur Referee was not a bad result. This after all was only Hodgo’s third game in charge, in Championship Manager it would only have been a a pre-season friendly for crying out loud. Roy’s team can only get better.

But there was another reason for optimism last night. Every time a promising England move broke down or a finish was poorly executed the camera would cut to the most anxious man in the stadium. Wayne Rooney, underneath his exquisite barnet, looked like the archetypal tortured soul, forced to watch England’s two opening games from the touchline thanks to his own stupidity. The mission for England is simple. Stay alive in the competition until Rooney is available, then unleash him on the Ukraine, he made his name at Euro 2004, maybe in 2012 he will write it alongside those of European legend?

Watch these spaces for a new bet 1, coming soon…

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Eng-ger-land Memorial Stream - Bet 1

England finally get their Euro 2012 campaign started this afternoon against the French in the cheerful holiday town of Donetsk. And while most intelligent observers don’t think ‘Roy’s Boys’ have a chance in hell, 20steps has a long history of non-intelligent observations to keep up.

Hodgson has a deserved reputation for making his teams devastatingly hard to beat and England also boast an impressive 6 clean sheets in the last 8 games. A run that includes that fine 1-0 win against Spain. France are also notoriously slow starters at major tournaments not having been victorious in their opener since Euro 2004 against, er, England.

Still 13/10 for England to beat France tonight in the ‘draw-no-bet’ market looks overpriced so that is where 20steps is putting its pound.

Eng-ger-land memorial stream (EMS)

Bet 1 - £1 - England to beat France (draw no bet) - 13/10 @ StanJames

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Welkom bij 20 stappen Euro stijl

So the Euro’s are well underway. The first two games produced goals, excitement, drama, sending-offs and a fabulous performance from the Russians. Hopefully for them it will not prove as useful as Argentina’s 4-1 drubbing of South Korea at the 2010 World Cup. (The Argentines bowed out in the quarters by the way)

Yesterday also saw the demise of the Knee Jerk Reaction Stream. If you want a bet you can be sure about, then don’t nail your colours to the Poles. So today begins a 20steps European Championships special, and given the utter failure of 20steps so far, I am mixing it up a bit. Time is short so I will be brief. Bet 1 requires £1 to double into £2 and so the following bets will be placed on the Netherlands v Denmark game.

All Netherlands to win at Victor Chandler:

27p on 1-0 @ 13/2

24p on 2-0 @ 15/2

14p on 3-0 @ 14/1

23p on 2-1 @ 8/1

14p on 3-1 @ 14/1

If any of them come in we will have over the requisite £2. Total outlay by the way is £1.02. (what’s two penneth between friends!)

Euro-a-Go-Go & KJRS - Bet 3

If ever a continent needed a shot in the arm then it would be this Europe of ours right about now. Financial meltdown looms on the horizon like a giant bowl of cabbage soup threatening to tip over and drown us all. The the dust settles in London after a weekend of celebrations marking the 60 year reign of a great imperial tyrant. Weather forecasters all over the place predicting the wettest, coldest, windiest, skinty-ist summer on record.

At least we have the European Championships to cheer us up. 16 teams, 368 players, 31 matches, 8 venues, an unspecified number of racists, and ultimately, on July 1st, one supreme winner. And lets not forget that the Euro’s are an event that has a long association with shocks, upsets and the entirely unpredictable. Denmark winning from the beach in ‘92. Greece lifting the trophy in ‘04. England reaching the semi’s in ‘96. Indeed, 13 previous tournaments have produced 9 different winners, compared with a paltry 8 victorious nations coming from 19 World Cups!

20steps also gets back underway today, brandishing the £4.50 pocketed when England defeated the mighty Norway, we find ourselves looking left and right, up down for a fantastic even money bet to take us closer to our million-pound target. Poland kick things off in Warsaw at 5pm today and look a generous price to overcome Greece and get the show on the road.

So pack up the bunting, batten down the hatches, draw the curtains and sit back to enjoy the 2012 edition of the European Championships. The greatest 16 teams battling it out to see which of Spain or Germany will be crowned the winners.

20step - Knee Jerk Reaction Stream

Bet 3 of the KJRS will back Poland to get off to a winning start later today against Greece at 23/20 with Victor Chandler.

KJRS Bet 1 - £1 on Chelsea v Bayern Munich - Less than 2.5 goals - WON - £2

KJRS Bet 2 - £2 on England to beat Norway - WON - £4.50

KJRS Bet 3 - £4.50 on Poland to beat Greece @ 11/10 with Victor Chandler

Euro 2012 Tips

Top Scorer

Fernando Torres - Each Way - 20/1 @ bet365

Robin Van-Persie - Each Way - 10/1 @ totesport

Outright

Germany - Winner - 10/3 @ bet365

Euro 2012 - Patriotic Tips

Andy Carroll - Top Goalscorer - (no really, worth a couple of quid, surely) - Each Way - 50/1 @ boylesports

England to reach the Semi’s  - 9/4 @ bet365

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Knee Jerk Reaction Stream - Bet 2 

Tonight in Oslo the new England boss Roy Hodgson will oversee his first match in charge of the national team. And while expectation for the upcoming European Championships is at an all time low (current sitings of plastic car flags = nil), history will certainly be on Roy’s side in the Ullevaal Stadium.

Sir Bobby Robson began his England career with a two-all draw away in Denmark in 1982, and since then the last seven full time England managers have begun their reigns with victory. Even Steve McClodface enjoyed a 4-0 win over Greece in his international debut.  

Bet 2 of the Knee Jerk Reaction Stream expects Roy to continue in this fine tradition tonight. With such little preparation time before the Euro 2012 kick-off all the players on show tonight will feel that a good performance could bag them a starting spot against France on June 11th. And with a few squad members yet to join up with the party we may be spared the depressing bout of substitutions normally associated with friendly internationals.

Take England to beat Norway at 5/4 with that nice man Victor Chandler.

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KJRS Bet 1 - £1 on Chelsea v Bayern Munich - Less than 2.5 goals - WON - £2

KJRS Bet 2 - £2 on England to beat Norway at 5/4 with Victor Chandler

We Shall Not Be Moved - Knee Jerk Reaction Stream - Bet 1

Defeat is a bitter pill to swallow and tonight 20steps has the same nasty after taste in it’s mouth as Blackpool FC. But for some better finishing things would have been different and The Seasiders were unlucky not to at least force extra time.

Still Holloway’s team will come again next season, and for 20steps the wait for redemption is even shorter. The new stream starts now. Chelsea v Bayern Munich is the second half of this super Saturday of soccer and the ‘Knee Jerk Reaction Stream’ starts here.

Bet 1. Take your solitary £1 and pop it on less than 2.5 goals tonight with Stan James at even money. Chelsea will park the bus. Bayern will get the nerves. And if you fancy a real flutter than stick a bit on both sides to win on penalties.

Then sit back and settle in for a long nervy evening.

Once again, pointless photograph.

Once again, pointless photograph.

Liverpool in Home Win Shocker & Bet 3 (TRotSS)

Backing Liverpool to win at home this season has been just about as successful as a Conservative party local election campaign. Tonight however, the Reds should buck the trend by beating Chelsea, and there are many reasons for believing this.

Firstly, Liverpool will be smarting from Saturdays FA Cup Final defeat. Impotent for the first 60 minutes, Andy Carroll changed the game when he came on, and in the end his team will feel slightly aggrieved at not forcing extra time. Those painful Wembley memories will be fresh in the minds of Carroll, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and co, and the chance to gain revenge so soon is definately sweet.

Secondly, Chelsea know that fourth place and a champions league qualifying birth is beyond them, witness the defeat at home to Newcastle six days ago as evidence. Roberto Di Matteo’s team will now be fully focused on May 19th, the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich and the chance to make history as the first London team to be crowned champions of Europe.

Liverpool also have a great league record against Chelsea, losing only two of the last ten games. That run includes victory in five of the last seven, while 3 points tonight would be their fourth maximum on the bounce. The Reds will be desperate not to lose three in a row at home and so will welcome a team with Chelsea’s poor recent away form.

Lastly a win would lift Kenny Dalgish’s team to 8th in the premier league, just one point behind Everton with a single game to go. With Newcastle visiting Goodison Park on the last day, Liverpool know that victory tonight and away in Swansea might just take them above their local rivals.

7th place in the league, local bragging rights and a Carling Cup on the shelf might not be seen as a vintage season at Anfield; but it might just be good enough for all Liverpool’s connections to summer holiday with confidence for the future.

So 20steps will take our £4.88 from that memorable, stormy night in Barcelona and lump it on Liverpool to beat Chelsea tonight at 6/5 with Paddy Power.

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TRotSS bet 1 - £1 on Justin Rose at 11/8 - WON - £2.38

TRotSS bet 2 - £2.38 on Barca v Chelsea - OVER 50 bookings points at Evens - WON - £4.88

TRotSS bet 3 - £4.88 on Liverpool to beat Chelsea at 6/5 with Paddy Power