‘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”

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”

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”

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”

It’s the Battle of Paris for the Home Nations

Game of the Day: Wales vs. Northern Ireland, Paris, 18:00

With third places teams qualifying to the knock out stages of the European Championships for the first time in this tournament, a curveball knock out tie was always going to be on the cards but I don’t think anyone saw Wales vs. Northern Ireland coming…

Wales, compared to England, made light work of Group B. The defeat to England aside, where Wales always did look to be on the back foot, the performances against Slovakia and particularly against Russia demonstrated that Wales are more than capable of dipping their toes in the deep end of Euro 2016. Continue reading “It’s the Battle of Paris for the Home Nations”

The Best of the Euros so far…

Group stage wide boys

Inverted wingers have been all the rage for a good few years now reason, but with Arjen Robben absent, Lionel Messi at Copa America and Ronaldo and Bale acting as central focal points for their respective teams, teams may need some genuine width against the mass defensive ranks that became a feature of the group stage. Continue reading “The Best of the Euros so far…”