England's opening Euro 2012 game is against France, the match will take place at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. Kick-off time is 5 o'clock and the game will be shown live on iTV. At the bottom of this page you can view full France V England Odds.
The opening game is arguably the toughest in England's group D pool. The traditional thinking in major competitions goes that a team can not afford to lose their opening game and hope to progress to the knockout stages. And with that in mind it's expected that England manager Roy Hodgson will be cautious with his team tactics and player selection.
Defensively England look strong, whilst France are enjoying an unbeaten run of 21 games. Both teams will know the importance of not losing this opening clash, for that reason I expect the game will be a cagey affair. It may suit England a sit back for long periods of the game and seed possession to France, England fans will hope that pace players like Ashley Young and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be employed on the counter-attack. France will find it incredibly difficult to break down the well disciplined English back four, especially if Hodgson's men score first.
England have been unlucky in the run-up to Euro 2012, losing key squad players Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill. Along with suspension of Wayne Rooney for 2 games. The odds on England beating France in the opening game are slim, but the draw would probably be enough to see England into the knockout stages if they can beat Sweden in the following game.
On paper France look the stronger side, with players like Ribery, Benzema and Nasri. Either one of those could hold the key to unlocking England's defence. In the betting markets the odds on France winning the match are currently around 6/4 with Paddy Power Bookmakers. England's odds are 9/4 and the draw looks good value at 11/5.
One betting opportunity I haven't seen yet is the odds on how many Henry V quotes will be used by the TV commentators before the match starts…
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
William Shakespeare (Henry V, Act III)
The Greyhound I have my eye on is Ashley Young, the odds on him to score anytime in the match are 16/5 with Paddy Power Bookmakers, Young has netted in his last four England games and this looks like the value bet of the match. In fact I might even have a cheeky side bet on him finishing as the competitions top scorer at a tasty 80/1!