‘The best footballing experience I have ever had’ – France vs Germany in the Velodrome

What a game. What a fantastic and unreal game.

 

The live experience of football is a very different animal to watching it on the TV. I was in Nice for England/Iceland and it was absolutely clear that England were dreadful but it was only after reading and listening to the various recriminations that it was clear just how much of a steaming pile of faeces England actually were.

 

There can be absolutely no denying in how great a game France vs Germany was. In the Stade Vélodrom it felt like you were watching a spectacle, something more than a semi-final as the stature of both teams resonated with their respective fans. This was their final.  Continue reading “‘The best footballing experience I have ever had’ – France vs Germany in the Velodrome”

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The history of the Henri Delaunay trophy

It’s now just two days until the final of the Euros, and excitement is building while we are waiting to find out which country will lift the trophy at the end of it all. When you think about it; what would winning a football tournament be without a trophy? We all like having something physical to celebrate and commemorate our achievements, and the world of top-flight football is no exception.

 

As you may or may not know, the trophy used for the Euros is called the Henri Delaunay Trophy – and it’s just as impressive as the tournament itself. So – first things first – who was Henri Delaunay? Continue reading “The history of the Henri Delaunay trophy”

Welsh Dragon runs out of puff in Lyon

Three nights in Lyon, one semi-final. It was supposed to be the fan park experience that trumped all others as the Welsh came to town to oversee one of the international underdog stories in recent times. However much like the game itself the atmosphere underwhelmed as Wales went out with a whimper rather than a roar.

 

Headlines will say that Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show as ‘CR7’ matched Michel Platini’s goal scoring record for European Championships but that is a headline born out of mediocrity. No stars were made in Lyon as Wales failed to perform half as well as they did against Belgium and Portugal continued on their anti-nice footballing mission of trying to win this summer’s showpiece by any means imaginable.  Continue reading “Welsh Dragon runs out of puff in Lyon”

Portugal awaits the winner from Marseille

Game of the Day: France vs. Germany, Marseille, 20.00

After a tournament scattered with surprises, Thursday night sees what will be a widely predicted line up for the semi-final in the bottom half of the draw; hosts and favourites France against World Champions Germany. Continue reading “Portugal awaits the winner from Marseille”

Bale and Ronaldo face off in Lyon

Game of the Day: Portugal vs Wales, Lyon, 20:00

It’s one of the more unlikely semi-final couplings in recent times but it’s a game that has a narrative fitting for the big occasion. Gareth Bale’s Wales takes on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. The largest stars of Florentino Perez’s current crop of galatico’s, this is a game that has a domestic rivalry between team mates at its heart. Continue reading “Bale and Ronaldo face off in Lyon”

Bordeaux, Toulouse and Les Bleus

Here is the second part of my ‘I am in France and going to places where they show football travel extravaganza’ and in this edition it’s all about Bordeaux and Toulouse. Expect facial hair, Simone Zaza looking like a tit and the reaction of the locals as France keep on rolling on to the Semi-Finals… Continue reading “Bordeaux, Toulouse and Les Bleus”

Can Iceland sink French hopes?

We’ve had one bore draw, a great team performance, a clash of European footballing giants and now this. If you thought England had to deal with pressure then think again.

Progress has been less than serene for Les Bleus’. They have been expected to win each and every game since the opening fixture comfortably and with stereotypically French levels of panache. Rather than respected foes, the hosts have been portrayed as navigating a slippery river crossing, knowing that one false step will result in total humiliation. Continue reading “Can Iceland sink French hopes?”

Can Conte master another miracle in Bordeaux?

Game of the Day: Germany vs. Italy, Bordeaux, 20:00

The glamour tie of the quarter-finals. More fitting of a final than a game to reach the last four but this Euro draw has been kind to us this season and now we get to see Antonio Conte once more try to prove that tactics can overcome any player for player advantage.

I’ve written before, and I will say it once more, this is hardly an Italian Vintage that Conte has rocked up to France with this summer. With Andrea Pirlo’s omission from the squad, it is Conte’s trusted old Juventus generals in defence who embody the tactical foundation that has proved so successful at this year’s European Championships.  Continue reading “Can Conte master another miracle in Bordeaux?”

Nice – A View from a Fan Park

Yes this is a little late, but with a lot of kilometres under the old belt going from Nice to Bordeaux, a moment has arrived to finish this off – so here it is, ‘The Sweeper Blog’s France vs Republic of Ireland Fan Park Experience Review’. And just as aside, the tan lines are still there and the after sun has been vaguely OK. I know, when you read, that is the thing you were all going to be most worried about that….

Nice Fan Park and Watching France vs. Republic of Ireland

In short, it was fantastic.

I’ve always wanted France to go far in this tournament, knowing that once the hosts go, the tournament loses a little of its va-va-voom and has crowds gathered in the mid-afternoon sun, anticipation and expectation grew also. Now that I am over on le continent, it is clear that this country expects something from Deschamps and his Euro squad and that perhaps French performances to date haven’t quite met such expectations.  Continue reading “Nice – A View from a Fan Park”

Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams

Game of the Day: Belgium vs. Wales, Lille, 20:00

Wales is proof that with a little bit of team spirit and one world class player that relative success is more than achievable in an international football tournament. And in Gareth Bale, Wales have a player that accepts the spotlight whilst not forgetting to mention the operators off stage.

Welsh performances, England game aside, have been impressive, with the 3-0 demolition of Russia by far the best for Chris Coleman. Whilst the first two games seemed dominated by Bale, against Russia, it was a game won by the squad as a whole as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Joe Ledley dominated the midfield. Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter dominated the flanks, allowed by an Ashley Williams led defensive line unhampered by a simply awful Russian side. It was attacking, incisive football. Continue reading “Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams”