Sweden Favorite for Euro 2008 Quarter-FinalsPublished June 18, 2008 by OCR Editor
Russia must defeat the Swedes to knock them from second spot in Group D.
Sweden vs Russia is the main event in tonight's final round of group-stage matches at Euro 2008, with the eighth and final spot in the quarter-finals up-for-grabs.
With Spain already through to the next stage and Greece winless, the match between Sweden and Russia will decide who progresses in second place. Sweden, with a superior goal difference, needs only a draw to go through, while Russia can afford nothing less than complete victory.
With the balance of probability on their side, Sweden is favored by bookmakers. UK bookmaker Sportingbet has them at 1/2 to make the quarter-finals, and Ladbrokes has them at an almost identical 8/15. Russia is listed as 7/5 at Sportingbet and 11/8 at Ladbrokes. However, in the case of an actual result Russia is considered the more likely to win tonight's fixture, with Sportingbet giving them 6/4 against Sweden's 8/5. The draw is paying 43/20.
With all eyes now on this match, the bookmakers will no doubt be accepting many sports bets on a whole range of other options, from first goalscorer (favorites at Sportingbet are Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russia, 5/1, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, 11/2) to the method of first goal (the favorite is a shot from inside the penalty box, 13/20, and the biggest outsider is an own goal, 25/1).
In tonight's other game, Spain plays the tournament's biggest disappointment Greece, with the Spaniards' attention already focused on their upcoming quarter-final against Italy. Spain is a hot 13/20 favorite to beat Greece tonight. Greece is paying 15/4.
The quarter-finals begin on Thursday with Portugal taking on Germany.