Euro 2016 Preview – Friday June 17

14.00 BST Italy v Sweden (Group E)

Euro 2016 Group EThis Italy team were widely considered to be the weakest national squad in living memory but following their convincing victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites, Belgium, the conversation has radically shifted to their being one of the strong favourites to win the competition outright.

What is undeniable is that they have the strongest defense with the Juventus back 4 (including Buffon) imperious at the back. Many assumed that they would need this fortitude to deal with the threat of Ibrahimovic but as the Republic Of Ireland showed in the opening match against the Swedes, it is possible to keep a handle on the big man.

Having said that, it was Zlatan’s cross which created the own goal that got Sweden a 1-1 draw but Italy won’t have been too concerned by his play. A loss for Sweden will likely put an end to their European adventure this summer so they will need to pose a much greater threat than in their opening match. This will suit Italy just fine. BetVictor have Italy to win at 9/10.

17.00 BST Czech Republic v Croatia (Group D)

Euro 2016 Group DCzech veteran, Tomas Rosicky, put in a huge performance in their opening match against Spain and looked utterly shattered on the sideline, both emotionally and physically, following the late Spanish goal which ultimately won the game for the defending champions. After such a mammoth effort, the Czech’s must pick themselves up, dust themselves down and take on a Croatia team that sit top of the group with Spain.

Without doubt, this Croatia team are a match for any other country in the tournament. In Luka Modric, they have a class player who will be spoken about for many years to come. His winning goal in their opening game was a thing of rare beauty and he looks a player at the peak of his powers.

That is bad news for the Czech Republic who, though talented and skilled, do not carry the same quality that Croatia can boast of. Modric and his merry men should take all three points from this. MarathonBet have the best price for a Croatia win at 13/15.

20.00 BST Spain v Turkey (Group D)

The reigning European champions left it until late to win their opening game but they were dominant throughout with Anders Iniesta giving one of the individual performances of the tournament so far. There are still question marks regarding their strikers; Alvaro Morata was industrious and lively but when chances came, he fluffed his lines. Still, they have such a wealth of talent throughout that one wouldn’t worry too much for them.

Turkey lost their opening game 1-0 to Croatia in a match where the score line doesn’t fully reflect the respective qualities of both sides. For their own part, Turkey were not the impressive team that many expected to see and if they haven’t shaken off their torpor, they will fare similarly here. Or worse. Arda Turan and their other big guns need to step up.

It is an interesting yet ultimately useless fact but Spain haven’t lost in the Euros since 2004. That’s 12 years, folks. Even if Turkey play closer to their potential, Spain look like they’re in good enough form to win again. The bookies seem to think so too with the price of 4/9 from Bet365 the best about.