Wales take on Denmark in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as the Euro 2020 knockout stages begin on Saturday.
Both teams finished second in their groups, with Wales earning four points and Denmark becoming the first team to ever finish second in a European Championship group with only three points.
The Danes are odds-on 17/20 favourites to progress to the quarter-finals, with the draw 9/4 and Wales win 4/1.
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Putting aside their freak loss to Finland, when Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest and Finland scored with their only shot in the entire match, I’ve been pretty impressed with my pre-tournament dark horses tip Denmark.
They’ve captured neutral’s hearts for obvious reasons, while their 4-1 win against Russia in Copenhagen to progress on Monday was one of the more memorable nights in recent major tournaments.
Wales have been better than I expected, though, and clearly have something about them when it comes to tournament football after reaching the semi-finals in 2016.
Interestingly, only Spain have been fouled more times than these two nations at Euro 2020 so far, with both being upended on 40 occasions.
1+ card each team has landed in all of these sides’ games so far, too, with the exception of Denmark’s aforementioned game against Finland, who received two cards to the Danes’ zero.
Wales clearly have much more quality than Finland in transition, though, with the likes of Daniel James and Gareth Bale likely to cause Denmark plenty of issues down the sides whenever they turnover the ball.
Referee Daniel Siebert isn’t the best around for cards but he did show four – three to Slovakia and one to Sweden – in his last game here, so I’ll back a card for each team now that the stakes have increased.
I do favour the Danes to win but rather than rely on them for our double-your-money Bet Builder, I’ll back them to earn 5+ corners across 90 minutes instead.
Wales have conceded 7+ corners in all three games so far, with Switzerland having 12 and Turkey 10 against them, while Denmark had 9 against Finland and 7 against Russia.
I expect them to dominate the match, especially with more of their fans inside the Amsterdam ArenA, but come up against a dogged Dragons defence, which should keep them at bay long enough to help this part of the bet land.
Along similar lines, I’m also backing Over 13.5 Shots for Denmark and Over 6.5 Goal Kicks for Wales at EVS.
No side has had more shots in the tournament than Denmark (62) so far, with no side which has progressed to the last-16 conceding as many as Wales (58).
Denmark have had 16+ in every game with Wales conceding 17+ in every game as well as taking 9+ goal kicks. Denmark forced 11 against Finland and 15 against Belgium.
Denmark have also had more shots (40) inside the penalty area than any team at the tournament, with Wales allowing more (38) than any which progressed to the last-16.
Only Spain have restricted their opponents to fewer shots (7) inside the penalty area than Denmark, too, so it really feels like Wales are going to have to be super clinical to win this match.
Given that Denmark are yet to keep a clean sheet at the tournament, with Wales clearly having far more offensive quality than Finland and Russia, I do like the look of Denmark to win, BTTS, 2+ Wales cards & 1+ Denmark card as a longshot at 9/1 (bet365) with Wales averaging 2.42 cards per game across their last 19 competitive matches.
Player cards wise, my main fancies would be Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (4/1) and Joe Morrell (7/2), with a 22/1 double appealing.
Neither central midfielder has been booked yet this tournament so may feel more inclined to “take one for the team” at some point with less fear of a suspension than some of their already carded teammates.
Hojbjerg received nine for Tottenham in the league last season, while Morrell was booked 10 times in 29 games for Luton in League One in the 2019/20 season, so both are no strangers to a flash of yellow.
Lastly, Denmark’s Joakim Maehle has been racking up the shots at this tournament from left-back, scoring a lovely goal against Russia last time out.
The Napoli man is right footed so naturally cuts inside from wide areas, with the 24-year-old having 2+ shots in all three matches so far. This looks a great price at 7/4 (Sky Bet).
It’s tempting to back him to have 2+ shots on target, too, given that this landed against Belgium and Russia, but I’ll stick with the safer option.
1+ card each team & 5+ Denmark corners @ 21/20 (bet365)
Over 13.5 Shots for Denmark & Over 6.5 Goal Kicks for Wales @ EVS (bet365)
Denmark to win, BTTS, 1+ Denmark card & 2+ Wales cards @ 9/1 (bet365)
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg & Joe Morrell to be carded @ 22/1 (bet365)
Joakim Maehle 2+ Shots @ 7/4 (Sky Bet)
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