2pts Belgium win @ 21/20
Three more games to focus on this Thursday as Groups B and C are brought to the fore and the game of the day sees Belgium head to Copenhagen at 5pm (ITV) to face a Denmark side rocked by events in their opening game on Saturday.
All our thoughts go to Christian Eriksen after his cardiac arrest on Saturday, and it was fantastic to see him smiling in the media a couple of days ago with his condition stabilised. Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery.
The emotion shown by the players clearly affected them, and how could it not, in their 1-0 defeat, but they had plenty of possession, just lacking a finishing touch on many occasions.
With their talisman missing Denmark are certainly weakened and this Belgium side are ruthless enough in this competition. Stretching back through their entire qualifying campaign to include the last eleven matches, they have won each one, scoring at least twice in all of them at least three goals on nine occasions and were winning at half-time in each game too.
They were clinical against Russia with Romelu Lukaku (teammate of Eriksen at Inter Milan) helping himself to a couple of goals and they now have Kevin De Bruyne to add to the mix while Eden Hazard could well start and Alex Witsel should make the bench, making them a stronger outfit.
They will need to be, Denmark will provide stiffer competition than Russia who were rocked early, but I can only see another three points for Belgium (21/20) against a side whose first thoughts will be with their stricken teammate. That should see Roberto Martinez’s side head through to the last 16 as group winners. It may also be worth having a little on the half-time full-time double result such is their record at 9/4. Lukaku is 5/2 to score the opener once again and 11/10 to score a third goal of the tournament.
Following this match, we head to Amsterdam as the two opening match winners from Group C, Netherlands and Austria look to book their spots in the last 16.
There is a storm brewing over Marko Arnautovic after comments during his goal celebrations against North Macedonia which has resulted in a one game ban. I have been against the Dutch from the start and thought they were fortunate to get all three points versus Ukraine. They looked susceptible at the back and Austria will test them. Again, I want to be against them and at 4/7 for a Netherlands win, I must go with the generous offer of 11/8 that Austria do not get beat.
Israeli referee Orel Grinfeld is also quite a card happy arbiter and in a game with lots at stake, I think there will plenty of card action. He has issued at least four yellow cards in ten of his last eleven European or international fixtures that he has taken charge of, with three red cards in that timeframe too. Quotes of 5/4 about 40 or more booking points appeals as more than fair.
Earlier in the afternoon Ukraine and North Macedonia face each other in Bucharest at 2pm (ITV).
North Macedonia put up a good fight against Austria and while I expect more of the same, the forward threat of Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk and Malinovskiy should prove the difference.
There were nine goals in their two respective opening games so the 7/4 about Ukraine to win and three or more goals in the game looks the best play.