Category: Latest

Euro 2016: No Quarters Given, Apart from One

Euro 2016 has been condemned for a goal-per-game ratio below Italia ’90, itself still thought the worst international tournament ever. The quarter-finals were an unexpected venue for the catch-up. Italia ’90 still wins by 2.21 to 2.15. Three goals, essentially. But Euro 2016 is winning everywhere else. The hosts have become semi-finalists with more style in 2016. While the “unlikely semi-finalist” contest is no contest. And not just in England, where football fans’ recent scramble for Welsh ancestry has resembled that for Irish passports in the “real world.” Wales/Belgium is currently game of the tournament, especially when you consider...

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Euro 2016: France vs Iceland… Live!

Good evening everybody, and welcome to the last of the four quarter-finals at Euro 2016, between France and Iceland. We may learn something about the nature of fairy tales this evening. Iceland have already knocked Russia and England out of this year’s competition, but tonight they face their biggest test yet, a match against the hosts of the competition – and one of the strongest in the world at the moment – France at the Stade de France, just to the north of Paris. Iceland have got this far sticking relentlessly to a game plan that has served the...

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Euro 2016: England’s Reduced Status

At half-time during the match between Italy and Germany last night, the BBC cut back to its studio in Paris. Sitting opposite host Gary Lineker were Gianluca Vialli and Thierry Henry, speaking elegantly and honestly about the strengths and shortcomings of the the two teams in their respective second languages. Alongside them was Alan Shearer, who recently made a pitch for the freshly-vacated England manager’s job. He sounded like a jacket potato suddenly gifted the power of speech in comparison with the other two. It’s unfair, of course, to single out Alan Shearer for criticism when there’s so much...

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Euro 2016: One Night in Lille

It was a perfect way to end a horrible, dysfunctional week. It has felt for all the world as though the sky is falling in this week, as though the dystopian outlooks of so many films and television programmes set in the near future is finally starting to crank into gear, and those of us who have had a strip of their identity taken from us and been told that we’re “traitors” for feeling the way that we do about it all needed something positive, a cathartic moment to deliver us from the first tentative steps of a new...

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Euro 2016: Italy vs Germany… Live!

A couple of weeks ago, there were many who were convinced that Germany were a shoo-in to win Euro 2016 and that Italy had no chance whatsoever. Germany have been strong so far, easing through their group matches and their second match with a minimum of fuss. But it’s been Italy who have, in their own peculiar way, been one of the sensations of the tournament so far. Written off before a ball was kicked, they eased past Belgium and Sweden before fielding something of a B team against Ireland and losing. And then they beat Spain, winners of...

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