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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Gain Most Favored Nation Status

LONDON -- France became the new favorite Monday to win Euro 96 after England failed to convince in its quarter-final win over Spain and Germany lost key striker Juergen Klinsmann.


Bookmakers Ladbrokes quoted the French at 7-4, with England second favorites at 2-1 and Germany 9-4. The Czech Republic was quoted at 7-1.


Betting was expected to be heavy this week, both among amateur punters and on London's stock exchange where large sums have gone into sophisticated "spread" wagering.


Spread bets on offer for England's Saturday match against Spain last week included supremacy in the match, time of the first England goal and time of the first goal from the tournament's top scorer, striker Alan Shearer.


One spread play even combined shirt numbers and goal scoring.


The big upset of the quarter-finals was the Czech Republic's 1-0 defeat of Portugal.


Failure to reach the last four of a major tournament for only the third time came as a major blow to the Portuguese, while Czech captain Vaclav Nemecek admitted the result had probably surprised even his team's fans.


"We had hopes but we didn't dare say it aloud," he said.


The decisive goal was one of the best seen at Euro 96 -- a short-range punt lobbed cheekily over the advancing goalkeeper's head by Karel Poborsky of Slavia Prague.


But the victory was soured by some of the most over-zealous refereeing seen at Euro 96.


In all, Germany's Hellmut Krug flashed a tournament record-equalling nine yellow cards and one red, leaving no fewer than four Czech players suspended for the semifinals.