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”

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Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams

Game of the Day: Belgium vs. Wales, Lille, 20:00

Wales is proof that with a little bit of team spirit and one world class player that relative success is more than achievable in an international football tournament. And in Gareth Bale, Wales have a player that accepts the spotlight whilst not forgetting to mention the operators off stage.

Welsh performances, England game aside, have been impressive, with the 3-0 demolition of Russia by far the best for Chris Coleman. Whilst the first two games seemed dominated by Bale, against Russia, it was a game won by the squad as a whole as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Joe Ledley dominated the midfield. Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter dominated the flanks, allowed by an Ashley Williams led defensive line unhampered by a simply awful Russian side. It was attacking, incisive football. Continue reading “Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams”

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”

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?”

‘It’s back and with more magic than Harry Potter’ – The Return of the FA Cup

I generally don’t like trading in clichés but sometimes the very cliché itself strikes a nerve. The magic of the cup. Its FA cup third round weekend and it’s when the might of the Premier League gets unleashed on all that have got this far. Continue reading “‘It’s back and with more magic than Harry Potter’ – The Return of the FA Cup”

‘Will Swansea’s Slump Continue?’ – Swansea vs. West Ham, 20-12-15

Predicted XI’s

Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Britton, Ki, Ayew, Gomis, Sigurdsson

West Ham: Adrián, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Kouyaté, Zárate, Carroll, Antonio

Oh how times can change in Football. Garry Monk, lauded for producing Swansea’s best ever finish to a Premier League season last year, has joined the ever-growing list of managerial causalities after not winning a game since Swansea’s defeat of Manchester United at the end of August. Names have been bandied round (I myself wrote just last week that I thought David Moyes could be a good fit), yet no one has yet been appointed to date, with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins now in South America supposedly trying to tie down the enigmatic Marcelo Bielsa to a contract (Bielsa to Swansea). Continue reading “‘Will Swansea’s Slump Continue?’ – Swansea vs. West Ham, 20-12-15”

‘The Vultures are Circling over London and Swansea’ – Who could be the next Chelsea and Swansea Managers?

The footballing snipers are lined up. Stamford Bridge and The Liberty Stadium are on lock down waiting for their respective orders to act. For José Mourinho and Garry Monk the next few days could be their last at their clubs. But who could be coming into replace them?

Continue reading “‘The Vultures are Circling over London and Swansea’ – Who could be the next Chelsea and Swansea Managers?”