6 Abiding Memories from Euro 2016

Payet sets trend for fashionable late drama – France 2 – 1 Romania, 10th June 2016

 

 Remember the start of the tournament? Remember when we were full of hope that goals would rain like… like well, rain in an English summer? The opening game had been intriguing if not explosive and in this sense, was an omen of what was to follow for much of the next four weeks. After gaining a lead and then throwing it quickly away, hosts France were in danger of an underwhelming opening result in what still looked like a forgiving group A. Continue reading “6 Abiding Memories from Euro 2016”

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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?”

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”

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…”

Euro 2016 Team by Team Review

As the group stage ends, the Euros start getting interesting. It’s only the friggin’ knockouts! Here is a review of all 24 teams that made it too France, so let’s see what teams make the grade…

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Group A

France – B

Favourites at the start of the tournament but don’t seem to know their best starting XI. Two late wins against Albania and Romania, with thanks to goals by Dimitri Payet, followed by a stalemate against Switzerland, means there is definite room for improvement. Didier Deschamps will be expecting Les Bleus to show their potential against Republic of Ireland in the knockout round.

Switzerland – C

With a strike force as strong as their shirt quality, the Swiss have produced two underwhelming draws and a win over Albania. Incoming Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, has looked lively and will hope for more against Poland in the last 16. Continue reading “Euro 2016 Team by Team Review”

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”

Can Cristiano Ronaldo finally carry Portugal to glory?

Game of the Day: Portugal vs. Iceland, Saint-Etienne, 20:00

Football is and will always be a team sport. Yet in some cases, an individual can become the team, become so significant that the other 10 players become nothing more than a side show to that one player’s influence. Sweden have Zlatan. Portugal have ‘CR7’. And the burden will once more be firmly on the Real Madrid’s stars shoulders if Portugal are to make any serious inroads into the knock-out stages.

Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent tournament record is best summed as sort of being the girl who was almost a bridesmaid to the bride. Almost constantly in and around the knock out stages of any major footballing competition over the last 12 years, Portugal just can’t quite get the job done. Continue reading “Can Cristiano Ronaldo finally carry Portugal to glory?”