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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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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”