The End of the Road for France and Euro 2016

It’s the day after the final. Euro 2016 has drawn to a close and the French fairytale lays in ruins at the feet of one man. Eder. The most unlikely hero from the most unfancied result, it’s as if Chico actually did win X-factor.

 

As has been the case for most of the last fortnight, I was there, in a fan park wanting France to fulfil a journey that seemed more than a quest for footballing victory, it had become a unifying act for a country that has had more than its fair share of woes in the last year.  Continue reading “The End of the Road for France and Euro 2016”

It’s Final Time for France and Portugal!

Game of the Day: France vs Portugal, Paris, 20:00

It’s finally here. After the magic in Marseille and the lethargy in Lyon, it’s final time for Euro 2016. After all the games, the goals, the misses and the surprises, it’s down to two. France vs Portugal in Paris playing out a final few expected a month ago. Continue reading “It’s Final Time for France and Portugal!”

‘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”

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”

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?”

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”

Engand vs. Iceland Match Preview

Game of the Day: England vs. Iceland, Nice, 20:00

The round of 16 may have been a mixed bag so far, but there are lessons to be learned for England ahead of a potential banana skin against Iceland in Nice on Monday evening.

Teams seem to be tiring in the heat, but instead of trying to wear Iceland out over the course of the 90 minutes, Rooney et al would be best served going against the grain of the tournament to date and starting fast. If England can do something they haven’t managed so far and get an early goal, they will surely make life much easier for themselves and have a better chance of tying up the result without the need for extra time. Continue reading “Engand vs. Iceland Match Preview”

Italy vs. Spain – When Powerhouse’s Collide 

Game of the Day: Italy vs. Spain, Paris, 18:00

No one saw this coming. Spain coming second in their group.

After losing their first game in the European Championships since 2004 to Croatia, Spain now found themselves on the sticky side of the draw, and a game against an Italian side that at first impressed but now come into this game with questions against their name.

After a tentative start against the Czech Republic, Spain waltzed past Turkey with more flair than a 70s disco in the second game of the group. Spain appeared to have mojo back. Then came Ivan Perisic and Croatia. Continue reading “Italy vs. Spain – When Powerhouse’s Collide “

Group A Final Round Preview

Games of the Day
Switzerland vs. France, Lille, 20:00
Romania vs. Albania, Lyon, 20:00

Standings
France – 6pts
Switzerland – 4pts
Romania – 1pt
Albania – 0pts

Just like that, we are at the beginning of the end for the group stages of Euro 2016 and what a tournament so far. The tournament may not be bursting at the seams with goals but goals don’t always lead to excitement as Spain proved in their demolition of Turkey.

France have somewhat become the late goal specialists. In a tournament where late goals have come to characterise this championship, it seems only fitting that the hosts themselves have mastered the last gasp winner.

Whether it was Dimitri Payet’s worldie of a goal in the 89th minute against Romania or Antoine Griezmann coming off the bench to break the deadlock against Albania at the death, any tournament needs the hosts to perform and France are duly injecting their own championships with excitement. Continue reading “Group A Final Round Preview”