Since the European Championships were expanded from an eight team competition to 16 in 1996, the host nations have flourished on home soil.
Baring Austria and Switzerland in 2008, all other hosts have surpassed pre-tournament expectations. England made the semi-finals in 1996 and have yet to repeat that feat since, Holland were unlucky losers in the semi-finals in 2000 and Portugal should have really won the whole thing in 2004 but came unstuck in the final against the plucky Greeks.
Both Poland and Ukraine are available to back at 50/1 with Bet365 but Poland are a far more superior team at international level and also have a far easier group to contend with. If a host nation is going to flourish then it will be the Poles.
Obviously this year there are two hosts nations, Poland and Ukraine, but a quick glance at their respective odds, makes it an easy choice on which side are likely to outplay their predicted chances.
Being seeded first despite their lowly ranking has certainly helped the host nation in this case as they only have Greece, Czech Republic and Russia to overcome in order to qualify for their first knock-out stage of a major tournament since 1986.
It’s 4-5 (Paddy Power) for them to qualify from the group.
Being in front of your own fans is no guarantee for the minnows – Austria and Switzerland are a prime example – but this tournament is set to be unique with ticket sales from visiting countries at an all-time low.
This means home advantage could be more crucial than ever and the Polish fans are some of the most passionate on the planet. All their games have been sold out already and a hostile environment can be expected by any side venturing into Polish territory.
The host nation will face Greece in their opening game and it seems punters are slowly catching on to the fact that Franciszek Smuda’s side could be the value coming into the tournament.
Certainly, in 23yr old striker Robert Lewandowski they have a potential star in the tournament, with the youngster putting in some superb displays and hauling a return of 22 goals, helping Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title, and claiming Bundesliga Player of the Year.
There are certainly worse 50/1 shots than the fiery Poles.