‘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”

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”

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”

Quarter Final time as Poland face Portugal

Game of the Day: Poland vs. Portugal, Marseille, 20:00

All of a sudden, there is barely over 2 weeks left, just 7 games remaining (not counting third place play off), before the new larger-format Euros draw to a close. The quarter finals open with arguably the last two dark horses left in the competition, Poland and Portugal meeting in Marseille; (with everyone else classifiable as favourites or plucky outsiders). This may not be the most glamourous of the round, but could provide intrigue and quality between two evenly matched sides. Continue reading “Quarter Final time as Poland face Portugal”

Group F Final Round Preview

Games of the Day
Iceland vs. Austria, Saint-Dennis, 17:00
Hungary vs. Portugal, Lyon, 17:00

Standings

Hungary – 4pts
Iceland – 2pts
Portugal – 2pts
Austria – 1pts

It’s one of the most baffling groups at Euro 2016 for all the reasons you wouldn’t have said before the tournament kicked off. This afternoon see’s Group F draw to a close with Portugal on the cusp of an unlikely exit from the tournament alongside supposed dark horses Austria. Who would of funk it?

I admit I got this group wrong. I thought Austria were going to win the group, with Hungary the sorrowful whipping boys. Portugal would come second with Iceland progressing as one of the lucky losers in third place. Instead, we have genuine curveballs ahoy as anyone of the four sides are still in the position to qualify for the knockouts. Continue reading “Group F Final Round Preview”

Group C Final Round Preview

Games of the Day
Ukraine vs. Poland, Marseille, 17:00
Northern Ireland vs. Germany, Paris, 17:00

Standings
Germany – 4pts
Poland – 4pts
Northern Ireland – 3pts
Ukraine – 0pts

The last set of games in this group saw the perfect juxtaposition of emotions that tournament football throws together. The euphoria of seeing Gareth McCauley thunder a header home as Northern Ireland picked up their first ever European Championship win was one sight. To then be met with one of the dourest 0-0 draws played out by Germany and Poland. I can appreciate a good 0-0 if the chances are there but Christ that took some watching.

Alas, it is another day and the glories of goal difference might change the shape of this Euro’s if both Poland and Germany win today with the price of coming second a likely tie against France in the round of 16, finishing top seems to have great importance in this group.

So who is favourite for the top slot? Whilst Germany may sit pretty at the moment, with Poland, playing a Ukraine side that bar the first 45 minutes against Germany seems to be getting worse for every half of football that passes by and Germany playing an impressive Northern Ireland side, this could be the first real surprise of the tournament. Continue reading “Group C Final Round Preview”

Can Dimitri Payet be France’s Euro hero?

Game of the Day: France vs. Albania, Marseille, 20:00

In the world of tournament football, 5 days is an eternity. We’ve had the brilliance of Germany’s counter attacking sucker punch against the Ukrainians, Italy emerging from also-rans to favourites with their 2-0 victory over Belgium and obviously the scenes of Russia’s new breed of footballing madman acting indefensibly in (and around) the Stade Vélodrome. Now we return to the site of such unsavoury scenes 4 days ago with the hosts entertaining the underdogs. Continue reading “Can Dimitri Payet be France’s Euro hero?”