It’s a box office slot as England kick-off Euro campaign

Game of the Day: England vs. Russia, Marseille, 20:00

You can be unbeaten in 32 games but if they don’t mean anything then what’s the point. England have had a lovely little run of results but now it’s time to bring your game faces, switch on the style and for Roy Hodgson, continue this positive upwards trend we find England on at the moment.

Normally England go into a tournament (at least since the first real tournament I remember – France ’98) with a burden, an expectation that we will put any side we play to the sword as we prove once and for all that we are the best at this fine game. It never happens. Especially in 2008 where England didn’t even get to the bit of the tournament where you win the trophy.

Yet Euro 2016 seems different. Firstly, no one really thinks that we are going to win the thing and secondly, England actually have quite a good squad. So what better way to ramp up tournament expectations than England playing at 20.00 on a Saturday night? It’s prime time baby! Continue reading “It’s a box office slot as England kick-off Euro campaign”

IT’S HERE! As France kicks off the Euro’s in Paris

Game of the Day: France vs. Romania, Paris, 20.00

Here we are, about to begin of the one of the best months of the year, Euro 2016. And what better way to start The Sweeper’s ‘GAME OF THE DAY’ than with the hosts on the opening night.

France vs Romania.

The omens seem good for France who have a somewhat magical relationship between hosting and winning football tournaments. Whether it be the Michel Platini led side for France ’84 or the Didier Deschamps inspired 1998 World Cup winning side, France just seem to love to win on home soil and their hopes for Euro 2016 are no different. Continue reading “IT’S HERE! As France kicks off the Euro’s in Paris”

Let’s Talk about Daniel Sturridge’s Goal in the Europa League Final

On a forgettable night for Liverpool fans, Daniel Sturridge’s sublime goal will be an awkward footnote, consigned to history as nothing more than a token goal as Liverpool come runner’s up to the might of Sevilla.

That’s not cool. Daniel Sturridge’s goal was far too good to be condemned as a ‘token effort’, it was an absolute worldy that proved once more that Sturridge, in terms of technical ability, is right up there with the very best the Premier League has to offer.

As Sturridge picks up the ball about 20 yards out, over near the left hand edge of the box, he is faced with three Sevilla defenders in front of him. As Alberto Moreno makes a truly lung bursting run on the overlap, Mariano moves his weight from his left foot to his right, offering up that glimmer of space for Sturridge to exploit so ruthlessly. Continue reading “Let’s Talk about Daniel Sturridge’s Goal in the Europa League Final”

A Brief Look at the Europa League Final

Time has been of the essence this week once more, trying to keep abreast of the end of season shenanigans across Europe, whilst planning for my own trip to France this summer, the time has come for a whistle stop look at the Europa League Final and what a final this could be.. Continue reading “A Brief Look at the Europa League Final”

Reaction: England’s Squad for Euro 2016

Anger. England’s squad announcement left me with bizarre sensation of anger as the list was read out on Sky Sports News just past 11am on this fine Monday morning. I wasn’t expect such a feeling but it was when Andros Townsend and more inexplicable Fabien Delph’s name was read out amongst the other 24 France hopefuls that proved to be my undoing.

I have relaxed now though. I have done my banking errands for the morning and feel like I can now have a look at the England squad with fresh eyes. So here it is… Continue reading “Reaction: England’s Squad for Euro 2016”

What has happened to Raheem Sterling?

When Manchester City splashed out £50 million on Raheem Sterling in the summer, it seemed that the footballing world was there for the taking. It was an astronomical fee for a seemingly incredibly gifted teenage sensation but ever since Luis Suarez left Liverpool (bear with me on this one); Raheem Sterling has seen his progress stall… Continue reading “What has happened to Raheem Sterling?”

Klopp looks once more to Anfield Magic

After the miracles produced against Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-final, Jurgen Klopp and his band of merry men will once more be trying to harness some of the magic that surrounds Anfield on a European night as they attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Villarreal.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool seem to becoming a match made in heaven, as the German embodies crucial elements of what Liverpool fans want to see. Passion, forthrightness and openness with the fans that any Liverpool seeks in a manager.

As seen during his time with Borussia Dortmund, Klopp is more than aware of the importance of the link between fans and players both on and off the field. Dortmund was very much a wounded giant when Klopp took to the helm, and whilst his last season was difficult, he emerged untarnished – a hero of Westphalia. Continue reading “Klopp looks once more to Anfield Magic”

I know I am not Roy but here is my England XI

It is timeless. It is inexhaustible. It is the great pub debate for any football fan in this country. Who should play for England?

One thing Roy has brought to the table for any such debate is a squad that doesn’t necessarily have the 7 or 8 ‘automatic’ starters like the England team of a decade ago. Perhaps the only two names who would always start (rightly or wrongly) would be Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney but even injury has dictated that come Saturday evening against Germany, it is almost anyone’s guess what Roy might send out to take down the old foe.

So here is me throwing my tuppence into the equation. I know I am not Roy but this is my England XI to take on Germany come Saturday… Continue reading “I know I am not Roy but here is my England XI”

The night the Europa League finally took hold in England

Rightly or wrongly, the Europa League has an awfully bad reputation in England. The something of nothing trophy that ruins seasons with some ridiculous Thursday – Sunday scheduling that is seemingly so mind boggling no one has realised that it really isn’t that different from playing Wednesday to Saturday games.

Any issues with the Europa League is an incredibly English concern. Since it’s re-brand and re-boot in time for the 2009-10 season, the two English clubs to progress to the final were Fulham, who gallantly made it to the final in its inaugural year beating the likes of Juventus on their way to defeat in the final against Atletico Madrid, and Chelsea who won the competition during their own Benitez revival. Two countries who tend to seize the Europa League as a chance for European silverware are Portugal and Spain.

Since the 09-10 season Portugal have had 4 finalists, including one all Portuguese final in 2011. Spain on the other hand have contributed 5 finalists, resulting in winning the competition 3 times and in Sevilla have the reigning Europa League champions for the last 2 seasons. The Europa League doesn’t present itself as a burden, more of a chance to deliver success on the European stage and as a means of reinforcing co-efficiency points, crucial to any club outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and the Top 2 in Portugal.

This year though the knock out phases of the Europa League has brought us some incredible draws. Napoli vs. Villarreal, Tottenham vs. Fiorentina, Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao, Lazio vs. Galatasaray and Borussia Dortmund vs. Porto. These are all potential Champions League ties. They aren’t some watered down affair of minnows and obscure teams that some perceive to be endemic of the Europa League. Continue reading “The night the Europa League finally took hold in England”