International Football Tipsheet: Back Havertz to get on the scoresheet against Greece

By Matthew O'Regan

Latest Football Odds

6 June 2024

With Euro 2024 just around the corner, excitement is brewing around the continent. Will Italy defend their crown? Will it finally be England’s year? Or will a Kylian Mbappe-inspired France side win another European Championship? 

There are many questions still to be answered with under two weeks until the tournament begins. Some of these questions can be answered in the pre-tournament friendlies, and we have tips from five of these games. 

England vs Iceland

7th June – 19:45 (GMT)

As ever, there is plenty of optimism surrounding England this summer. Is it blind optimism, or do the Three Lions finally have the chance to end their 57-year trophy drought?

This remains to be seen, but England certainly heads into this tournament with their strongest chance yet. Harry Kane won the European Golden Boot after 36 goals in his debut Bundesliga season. Jude Bellingham is fresh off of a 19-goal league season and winning the Champions League. Phil Foden won the Premier League Young Player of the Season, while Bukayo Saka enjoyed another stellar campaign for the Gunners. 

Talent is abundant in this England side, it’s just whether they have the nerve to go all the way. They started their preparation for the tournament by beating Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-0 in a dull affair. It was a heavily rotated side, with a stronger side expected against Iceland. 

Harry Kane came off the bench in the 61st minute to bag the third, and the record-scorer will be looking to build momentum ahead of the trip to Germany. 

England have also developed a new-found defensive resilience under Gareth Southgate. They’ve kept 8 clean sheets in their last 12 games in major tournaments. They’ve also kept a clean sheet in their last five home games against nations ranked lower than them in the FIFA rankings.

Iceland struggled in qualifying, finishing behind Portugal, Slovakia and Luxembourg to come fourth, winning just three times – two of these wins coming against minnows Liechtenstein who lost all ten games. 

They currently sit 72nd in the FIFA Rankings – some way off England. The disparity in quality on display should be apparent as England looks to rack up a big score line before facing Serbia in the opener. 

Prediction: England to win 3-0 @ 6.6

Romania vs Liechtenstein 

7th June – 19:00 (UK)

Romania enjoyed a stellar qualifying campaign and are now set to compete in their sixth-ever European Championship. They face a Liechtenstein side who lost all ten games of their qualifying campaign.

Eduard Iordanescu’s side were unbeaten in their qualifying group, finishing five points ahead of Switzerland, conceding just five times. They were disappointing in their previous friendly with Bulgaria, succumbing to a stalemate in a 0-0 draw. 

They have a tough task in qualifying out of a group containing the likes of Belgium, Ukraine and Slovakia, so confidence is key. Therefore, a big performance will be wanted against Liechtenstein. 

The principality with just 39,327 inhabitants ranks 202nd in the world. Konrad Funfstuck’s side lost all 10 qualifying games, with their one goal coming from a 0.01 xG chance. There is an argument for them to be the worst European nation, especially given they lost all six games, scoring just once in their Nations League group containing Andorra.

Romania are far superior to their visitors and should score quite a few. Liechtenstein have scored just once in their last eight games and face an impressive Romanian rear guard that will fancy their chances of another clean sheet. 

Prediction: Romania to win to Nil and -2 handicap @ 1.86

Scotland vs Finland

7th June – 19:45 (UK)

Another game that sees a side that has qualified for the Euros (Scotland) pitted against a side that failed to qualify (Finland). 

Steve Clarke’s side were impressive in securing their place in Germany, finishing four points off Spain but six clear of Norway and nine of Georgia to qualify with ease. 

A friendly against Gibraltar was intended to provide a morale boost as a heavy score line was expected. However, it has seemed to have the opposite effect, with the Tartan Amber lumbering to a 0-2 win in a tepid performance. 

Improvements are an absolute necessity if they are to cause a shock against the hosts Germany in the Euro curtain raiser, and a home game against Finland provides the perfect test. 

Finland finished third in an entertaining qualifying group, four points behind Denmark and Slovenia, before losing 4-1 to Wales in a decisive play-off. The experienced Markku Kanerva has a respectable record in charge of the national team but will be bitterly disappointed not to have qualified. 

In the victory over Gibraltar, Scotland lacked cutting edge, with striker Lawrence Shankland struggling to make much impact. The striker position is a big issue for the Tartan Army, with question marks over Shankland and Che Adams goalscoring ability on the international stage. 

Manchester United’s Scott McTominay was the main man in qualifying, scoring seven goals including a brace in the famous win over Spain. His aerial threat and ability to arrive late in the box was missed against Gibraltar. With him likely to be reinstated in the starting lineup on Friday evening, he presents a tempting price to add to his goal tally for his nation. 

Prediction: Scott McTominay to score @ 3.20

Germany vs Greece

7th June- 19:45 (UK)

The host nation heads into this tournament as the third favourites, behind France and England. 

Die Mannschaft have endured a miserable few years on the big stage. A last-16 exit to the hands of bitter rivals England at Euro 2020 was sandwiched in between group-stage exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. 

A succession of disappointing friendly results after the World Cup saw Hansi Flick become the first German manager in history to be sacked. The tactical astute Julien Nagelsmann was appointed as his replacement, bringing about major changes. 

Veteran Toni Kroos was brought back to the side after a three-year hiatus. At the same time, regulars Leon Goretzka and Mats Hummels were shunned from the squad, despite impressive form this season – particularly from the latter. 

While the lack of competitive football in recent years will be a worry, Germany are blessed with a plethora of attacking, most notably youngsters Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala. 

Outside of Tony Kroos and Anthony Rudiger, Germany fielded a full-strength team in their 0-0 draw with Ukraine. In a packed out ground in Mönchengladbach, Germany will look to inspire confidence ahead of the tournament. 

Kai Havertz is one player brimming with confidence. The 24-year-old endured a tough start in an Arsenal shirt but ended the season with four from five, including a brace against former club Chelsea. He has 15 goals in 45 Germany caps and faces tough competition from Borussia Dortmund’s Niclas Füllkrug for the starting berth, so will look to impress against Greece. 

Prediction: Kai Havertz to score @ 2.12

Poland vs Ukraine

7th June – 19:45 (UK)

Both these sides qualified for the Euro 2024, so this will be an intriguing encounter. 

Poland have a tough group, facing off against France, Netherlands and Austria, while Ukraine are pitted against Belgium, Romania and Hungary. 

Michal Probierz were poor in the playoff against Wales, squeaking through on penalties. They were impressive in the 5-1 hammering over 10-man Estonia but the performances before this are worrying. They limped past Faroe Islands 0-2, before drawing 1-1 at home to Moldova and the Czech Republic. Poland lacks goals and faces a stern test against Ukraine. 

I can wax lyrical about the ability packed into this Ukraine side with Artem Dovbyk as the main man. Dovbyk has been incredible in La Liga, spearheading Girona to an incredible third-place finish, with a final-day hat trick over Granada seeing him end the season on 24- goals, winning the Golden Boot in the process. 

Ukraine looked strong in the 0-0 draw and are now unbeaten in six games. They have a team littered with quality and travel to face a Poland side deprived of any creativity or confidence. 

Prediction: Ukraine to win @ 2.86

Recommended Bets:

Back England to beat Iceland 3-0 @ 6.6
Back Romania to win to Nil and with a -2 Handicap vs Liechtenstein @ 1.86
Back Scott McTominay to score for Scotland vs Finland @ 3.20
Back Kai Havertz to score for Germany vs Greece @ 2.12
Back Ukraine to beat Poland @ 2.86

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