England’s progress to the quarter-finals of EURO 2012 has delighted bookmakers around the country – even though it has sometimes proved bitter-sweet.
Leading up to and during Sunday night’s clash with Italy, there will be a flurry of bets placed on England – with money already going on the possibility of Roy Hodgson’s team winning the tournament.
England are fourth in the betting, along with the Italians, to run out champions in the final in Kiev on July 1 – just ahead of Portugal with Germany and Spain overwhelming favourites.
After a slow start to EURO 2012, bookies are reporting that there is now a real momentum behind the tournament.
Andrew Croft, Operations Director of Backhouse Bet, which has 19 shops in and around the West Country, said: “We offered 33-1 that England would win 1-0 with Rooney scoring so that was a terrible result for us.
“Now we’re in the quarter-finals, it’s really taken off. People are betting England but on all the teams, too. Double bets were very popular early on and now people are making a lot of special bets. It’s going to be a big weekend.”
Steve Taylor, Managing Director of Taylormade Betting, which has 13 shops in the North West, said: “The England results so far haven’t been good for us but fortunately a lot of people have been making double bets and the French losing saved our bacon.
“It was a very quiet build-up but there were some cracking games early on and that got people interested.
“Then England played well against France and it’s taken off from there. People were starting to back England from the Sweden game and we’re starting to see a lot of money on them to win now. It’s got a real momentum about it.
“There’s more interest in this tournament than in the World Cup two years ago. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
England doing well, though, always makes it a balancing act for bookmakers. Better results means more interest, but potentially more liability. Taylor added: “As always I’ve got divided loyalties. From our point of view, it would be best if England draw every game 0-0 and go on to win on penalties!”