by Tom Allen
Never has a top scorer market at a major tournament been so hard to interpret
and there are questions marks about several of the market leaders for one reason
Euro 2012 has three standout teams in the outright betting, in the shape of
Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, but even at this late stage on the eve of
the finals it is unclear who will be leading the line for each.
The betting indicates that Fernando Llorente, Mario Gomez and Robin van
Persie, respectively, will get the nod for that particular trio and it is the
Bayern Munich striker that heads every list at no bigger than 9/1 to top the
charts come July 1.
However, Gomez was responsible for some high profile misses in the Champions
League final defeat to Chelsea, and has the prolific Miroslav Klose breathing
down his neck, while the likes of Fernando Torres and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will
be keen to apply as much pressure as possible to earn starting berths themselves
for their country.
Gomez could well end Euro 2012 as the leading scorer but represents terrible
value for somebody that has not yet done it on the international stage and
Germany share the goals around, too, with Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and
Mesut Ozil all capable of finding the net.
That statement also applies for the Dutch, with Robben, Sneijder and van der
Vaart likely contributors, but whoever gets the nod for Spain should see plenty
of goalmouth action and the Athletic Bilbao man gets my tentative vote.
Llorente looked jaded during the closing weeks of the La Liga season but he
is sure to be rejuvenated by the opportunity to lead the World Champions from
the front and he enjoyed a tremendous domestic season overall.
With a midfield to die for in support, featuring the likes of Andreas Iniesta
and Xavi Hernandez, there are no excuses for Llorente and the chief threat could
come from the bench if Torres shows continued signs of his resurgence.
All the money in the build up has been for France's Karim Benzema, now no
bigger than 12/1, but while his country's recent friendly results have been
impressive I'm still not sure they are even likely semi-finalists and there has
to be a doubt about whether or not the Real Madrid man will play enough times to
make an impact in this particular market.
The same could be said of club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be
representing Portugal in fearsome Group B, but it is impossible to ignore his
claims based on statistics alone and CR7 looks like finding the target every
time he takes to the pitch.
As his side's chief attacking threat, penalty taker and free-kick specialist,
the only man on planet football anywhere close to Lionel Messi's talents is
worth a punt at the general 14/1 on offer and, if he gets even just four matches
at the finals to strut his stuff, then Ronaldo is very much a runner.
1pt Back Fernando Llorente @ 18/1 Top Euro 2012 Goal Scorer (Bet
1pt Back Cristiano Ronaldo @ 14/1 Top Euro 2012 Goal Scorer (Bet