Euro 2024

Mark Langdon's Euro 2024 analysis and predictions + get £50 in bet builders with Paddy Power

Mark Langdon's Free Euro 2024 predictions for the group stage. Plus a £50 Paddy Power free bet offer

Mark Langdon is one of the Racing Post's leading football tipsters and his excellent Euro 2024 column can be found below, but there is plenty more to be found in our 72-page betting guide in preview, which can be found in Monday's newspaper and purchased online. 

Paddy Power are offering £50 in bet builders when you bet on Euro 2024. You can grab your free bets here

We’ve included instructions on how to grab your offer later on in this article.

When does Euro 2024 start?

Euro 2024 gets underway on Friday June 14 at 8pm when hosts Germany take on Scotland in Munich. 

You can bet on Euro 2024 here and get £50 in bet builders with Paddy Power

Mark Langdon's Euro 2024 predictions

There are certain things you come to expect at major international football tournaments. 

Panini stickers, glossy wallcharts pinned to bedroom walls and Jon Champion and Ally McCoist bringing a goalless draw between Denmark and Slovenia to life in their own indomitable way as football takes on a secondary role to a couple of pals enjoying the delights of a city break on the continent.

Unfortunately, many wallcharts have now gone digital, Panini lost the Uefa contract to Topps and the old adage that bad luck comes in threes came true when the Daily Mail reported Champion and McCoist would not be working in tandem for ITV this summer.

Thankfully, there appears to be at least one tradition which remains: the obsession with finding a tournament dark horse.

It’s impossible for anyone to offer up any international tournament predictions without being asked to also dig out a dark horse, and in fairness the European Championship has historically been a fine competition for outsiders to prosper, right back to when Denmark came in via the backdoor to win Euro 92.

At Euro 96 surprise finalists Czech Republic, who ranged from 25-1 to 66-1 in the pre-exchange and odds-comparison days, were well backed outsiders and Greece stunned everyone with their remarkable 100-1 success in 2004. 

Portugal, even with Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks, went off at 22-1 for their victorious summer in 2016 and numerous other big-priced nations have given punters a good run for their money down the years. 

Denmark (28-1 at Euro 2020), Wales (80-1, Euro 2016), Portugal (20-1, Euro 2012 and 25-1, Euro 2000), Russia (28-1) and Turkey (50-1, both at Euro 2008) all made the semi-finals, which was the same departure point for 300-1 pokes Morocco and 50-1 Croatia at the last World Cup in Qatar.

Past history shows it’s definitely worth having a crack at a country that is not immediately obvious. All will have clear flaws and reasons not to back them, but that is built into their price and the idea of this column is to pick out only positives which, if things go right, could take a nation a long way this summer.

Croatia’s midfield is brilliant and they have also got Josko Gvardiol at the back. Denmark are more than double the price they were to win the World Cup only 18 months ago.

Austria have beaten Germany and Italy and drawn with France in the past two years, while Switzerland’s team includes influential players for Inter (Yann Sommer), Manchester City (Manuel Akanji) and Bayer Leverkusen (Granit Xhaka).

Turkey, all the rage as dark horses for the last Euros, topped a qualifying group ahead of Croatia and will feel right at home with a strong support assured in Germany. They used that to their advantage to beat the Germans 3-2 in November, while in the past couple of years Hungary have twice beaten Euros favourites England and in Dominik Szoboszlai have one of those Roy of the Rovers types who might just have the summer of his life.

Serbia’s twin strike threat of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic will always make them dangerous and Slovenia’s young hotshot Benjamin Sesko is being hyped up to the eyeballs following comparisons with Erling Haaland. Slovenia also have the advantage of a top-notch keeper in Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid.

Czech Republic, meanwhile, could leave their dreadful qualifying form well behind them as an unknown quantity following a managerial change.

Scotland beat Spain in a famous Hampden success and make up for a lack of a natural goalscorer with a midfield that is blessed with Premier League quality. Poland make up for a lack of quality in most positions by being blessed with that rare commodity – a lethal finisher in the form of Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski.

Georgia are another one-man team with Napoli’s twinkle-toed Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, nicknamed Kvaradona after Diego Maradona, someone who knew a thing or two about single-handedly dragging teams to glory, while rank outsiders Albania have loads of Serie A know-how in their ranks, including Europa League winner Berat Djimsiti, and will be looking to frustrate, just like a vastly experienced Slovakian side.

The draw has been kind to Slovakia and defensively dogged Romania, who are both in with potentially vulnerable group favourites Belgium. 

However, it’s the fourth team in Group E that could be even more interesting and I am officially declaring 100-1 Ukraine as the dark horses of Euro 2024.

Ukraine could give their fans a tournament to remember
Ukraine could give their fans a tournament to remember Credit: Mateusz Slodkowski

Ukraine, who drew with Italy and England in qualifying, reached the quarter-finals of the last Euros and have since been dripping in some of the talents who won the Under-20 World Cup in 2019, including Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

Striker Artem Dovbyk has just won La Liga’s Golden Boot and alongside midfielder Viktor Tsyhankov helped Girona to third spot in Spain.

Tsyhankov had 15 goal contributions (eight goals and seven assists), while there’s quality in defence and technicians in midfield where the noise around Georgiy Sudakov is reaching fever pitch. 

Sudakov might do well to stick with Shakhtar Donetsk for another season judged by how Mykhailo Mudryk’s move to Chelsea has worked out.

Consistency has not been Mudryk’s trademark since moving to England, but remember it was not that long ago he was the subject of a huge tug of war between Chelsea and Arsenal and it remains plausible that we will deliver on his promise in Germany this summer, returning to the kind of form which saw the Blues fork out just shy of £90 million for him in January 2023.

You can’t back a 100-1 winner if you don’t back 100-1 shots in the first place, but assuming the tournament goes to some kind of sensible form it might pay to take a punt on Portugal in what looks a clear front four at the top of the market.

Portugal are another side who could enjoy a strong Euro 2024
Portugal are another side who could enjoy a strong Euro 2024Credit: Soccrates Images

England, France and hosts Germany are all respected, but Portugal have enormous talent in their ranks and are a bigger price.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Rafael Leao will do nicely for goalscoring options and the midfield is ridiculous with Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Palhinha. 

Paris St-Germain’s Vitinha is an able deputy if required and at the back there are two more PSG players, Barcelona’s Joao Cancelo, Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot and City’s Ruben Dias. Not bad, eh?

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