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Euros: Top five dark horses

England and France lead the betting for the Euros, but there are other candidates for glory, and there is always the chance a dark horse could emerge.

Denmark fulfilled that role at the last European Championships, losing to England in the semi-finals, and the depth of talent across the continent means another unfancied nation could come through.

Greece famously went all the way in 2004, while the Danes didn't even qualify before receiving a late call and going on to win the 1992 tournament.

Here are five potential teams to keep an eye on, who, if they find form and the draw works out, could all go deep in Germany.

Euro 2024

Croatia

The epitome of a 'tournament team', Croatia finished third at the World Cup in 2022 and will expect to improve on their last two Euros campaigns, when they have fallen at the last 16 stage.

After finishing second to Turkey in Group D, Zlatko Dalic's side have been drawn against both Italy and Spain, with Albania completing Group B.

Neither the Azzurri nor the Roja will worry Vatreni, while the Albanians will be awkward yet beatable opponents.

With a chance that three teams could qualify from the pool, the draw will be crucial. However, the Croatians are masters at knockout football and have the confidence to take sides to penalties after beating Japan and Brazil by that method in Qatar.

Their doubters may argue that the Croatians needed spot-kicks due to their lack of a striker, but their ability to manage games and handle the big occasion mark Dalic's side out as real dark horses at 40/1 outright.

Denmark

The Danes put the horror of their opening game at the last Euros behind them to reach the semi-finals, losing to England in extra time.

Conditions got the better of them as they were eliminated in the group stages in Qatar, but the calmer climate in Germany should not cause such issues, and they are 40/1 to emulate their success of 1992.

They will also be well-backed from the stands, although the draw could have been kinder for those considering driving from Denmark to Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Munich.

The draw could also have been more favourable, although they will not be afraid to play the role of party poopers if they finish as Group C runners-up behind England and have to play the hosts in the last 16.

Head coach Kasper Hjulmand has done a decent job of bringing younger players through since the tournament in Qatar, and that energy could see them expose a somewhat sluggish Die Mannschaft side.

Turkey

Turkey, 50/1 outright, were viewed in similar terms ahead of the last Euros but flopped on the big stage, losing to Italy, Wales and Switzerland.

Topping a qualifying pool that also included Croatia and Wales deserves respect, and there remains something exotic about the Crescent Stars due to a chunk of their side playing in the Super Lig, adding to their perception as an unknown quantity.

Portugal are the obvious favourites to top Group F but at 2/7 to qualify, Turkey should finish at least second, with Czech Republic and Georgia falling into the category of opponents they should beat but could find awkward.

They reached the semi-finals in 2008 and have a similarly enigmatic squad. It will be challenging, but Vincenzo Montella's side are improving and have an extra advantage in that they will be well supported by the significant Turkish diaspora in Germany.

Austria

Another country bordering the hosts, Austria, are often fancied as a dark horse, but this current generation is still to come good at a major tournament.

They were plucky last 16 losers against Italy three years ago, but the lack of a proper striker hurt them, and they may still be light in that area, with Marko Arnautovic expected to lead the line.

However, with Ralf Rangnick at the helm, the 80/1 Austrians will always have a plan. The former Manchester United interim coach has changed the squad's mentality after the perception that they felt lucky to be there rather than that they could compete under predecessor Franco Foda.

Second to Belgium in qualifying, Das Team's reward is a place in 'Group of Death'. However, a win over Poland in their second match might be enough to go through, regardless of defeats to both France and the Netherlands.

It is yet to be determined if they will qualify by finishing third or who they will play, but Rangnick will have his side prepared for whatever rival they face.

Ukraine

Finally, Ukraine, who showed characteristic spirit to come from behind and beat Iceland 2-1 in their play-off, will face Belgium, Slovakia and Romania in Group E.

The fact that they are above both Romania and Slovakia in the world rankings suggests that they should be able to get out of the pool.

Their final group game against Belgium could be vital, with the runner-up from Group E set to face the side that finishes second in Group D, likely to be the Dutch or Austria.

Ukraine lost to both at Euro 2020 but have improved significantly and boasts talent throughout their side.

Bournemouth's Illia Zabarnyi and Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Matviyenko are solid central defensive combinations, while Shakhtar midfielder Heorhiy Sudakov could be the tournament's breakout star.

Add in that forwards Viktor Tsyhankov and Artem Dovbyk have excelled for Girona this season, and it is not hard to make a case for the 3/1 on Ukraine emulating their quarter-final appearance at the last Euros and perhaps going further.

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