We have been treated to a feast of football in the past month, but Euro 2016 will come to a close on Monday morning when the host nation France battle Portugal in the final.
France were expected to make a deep run at their home tournament, but the resurgence of Portugal in the knockout stages has been a big surprise after they failed to win a single game during the pool stages.
Can France secure a third major tournament victory on home soil or will Cristiano Ronaldo deliver Portugal the biggest win in their history? I have closely analysed both teams and you can find my recommended Euro 2016 final bets below.
Monday 11 July, 5:00am, Stade de France
France have a simply outstanding record against Portugal and they have won the past ten games played between the two sides – including wins at the 1984 European Championships, 2000 European Championships and the 2006 World Cup.
The two sides have met in two friendlies in the past two years and France were victorious on both occasions, but they did require a late goal from Mathieu Valbuena to win their friendly in 2015.
France were on the back foot for the majority of their semi-final with Germany and had only 30 percent of possession, but they were surprisingly strong in defence and took their changes going forward.
The decision of Didier Deschamps to move Antoine Griezmann to a more central role just behind Olivier Giroud has proven to be a masterstroke and he was the difference between the two sides in the semi-final.
Dimitri Payet was contained by Germany and he wasn’t able to have his usual impact on proceedings, but he will see much more of the football in this clash and he will be vital to his teams chances.
Portugal have been highly unspectacular at this tournament, but they just keep finding ways to progress to the next stage of the tournament.
They were happy to sit back against Wales – a surprise – and they are likely to go into this clash with a very similar approach.
What gave them the edge in the semi-final was the finishing of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani and if they are going to have any chance of beating France they need to be this efficient in front of goal again.
France are set to start this game as clear favourites and they are deserving of that status, but the question is whether you can get them as short as the $2 that is currently available.
It was their defensive toughness that was particularly impressive against Germany and this Portuguese side will not create as many chances as the Germans, but they do have a number of players – particularly Ronaldo – that are capable of scoring from nothing and they will need to be extremely careful when defending at set pieces.
Portugal are an incredibly difficult team to analyse and it is tough to know what to expect from them in this fixture.
They could come out with Ronaldo, Sanches and Nani firing to really take this game to France or they could struggle to string together any passes, Ronaldo will get frustrated and the game fizzles out to nothingness.
While France are the team to beat, I can’t get them as short as the $2 that is on offer and a stalemate after 90 minutes seems the most likely option, while the $2.88 on offer for Portugal to lift the trophy is also a value betting play.
Recommended Bet: Back The Draw @ $3.10 and Portugal To Lift The Trophy @ $2.88