It would be foolish to claim that we are always correct in our various betting predictions on 101 Great Goals but it would be remiss of us not to flag up arguably one of the finest tips we have brought so far.
Prior to the start of the European Under-21 Championship in Sweden we predicted that Marcus Berg would be the top goal scorer at the tournament and even urged you to put money down at the ludicrous price of 25/1.
In an article titled “Why Swedenâ€™s Marcus Berg will be the top goal scorer at the UEFA Under-21 championships” we argued that “Like all true goalscorers Berg is also prone to score a hatful in one game… If the Swedish striker bags a brace or more against Belarus or Serbia, the bookies could well be paying out a load of cash.”
In a faultless prediction, Berg went on to score a hat-trick against Belarus and a brace against Serbia.Â The FC Groningen striker then continued to make a fool of the bookies with a further two goals against England in the semi-final and smashed the other contenders for top goal scorer with Robert Acquafresca and Ola Toivonen level on two goals.
Truthfully, we are unlikely to ever provide a tip as good as this one, though it wonâ€™t be for the lack of trying. Odds as large as this (25/1) are very rare in football but it really is possible to make a large tidy profit from the bookies.
All of Marcus Bergâ€™s goals in the European Under-21 Championship can be seen on this video.
Now, before I go book my holiday in Barbados from the winnings on Berg, a couple of other points on the European Under-21 Championships:
* Where was Theo Walcott in the final against Germany? The Arsenal attacker has still yet to find his true position and arguably only made an impact on this tournament when he came off the bench against Spain. Having arrived on the scene so young and with pace to burn, Walcottâ€™s true position must be a conundrum for even the great thinkers of the modern game in Arsene Wenger and Fabio Capello.
* Germanyâ€™s victory should be placed in context beside their Under-17 and Under-19 titles as well as their full national sidesâ€™ progression to the final of Euro 2008. The key is professionalism and a commitment to the basic principles of football that keep Germany consistently at the top of the international game. Mesut Ozil is a playmaker of huge potential but it was the defensive steel of Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Andreas Beck that secured the title.
* Sweden were the neutralsâ€™ team of the tournament and whilst Berg is being coveted by all and sundry now (Everton, Tottenham and Fiorentina at the last count), arguably their biggest talent is Rasmus Elm. Unlike many of the stars of the tournament, Elm plays for a relatively small club at Kalmar, anyone who picks him up for around 4-5 million euros will have bagged a class act.