Well I haven’t written a posting about the Euro 2008 tournament so far (well I did one early on and two spoof interviews, but apart from that not one). To compensate for not having a side to follow at the event I’ve been running a sweepstake type of bet with a bunch of old mates. So I have been writing about events though my daily updates have been via email to the guys (and my sis) in the betting competition. Last night my side, Sweden, went out of the tournament (taking my £10 stake with them) so I thought it was a handy time to return to the blog with some thoughts on the tournament which has of course completed its first stage now.
Well it’s been really quite enjoyable watching a tournament without my home country competing (this must be what it’s like to support Scotland!). We don’t have to go through the pain of seeing England lose in the QF’s to a side managed by fat Phil. Of course he’s off to join the Russian revolution post Euros. I can’t wait to be honest but he’s going to have to smarten up a bit; those shell suits are tragic. And of course the world has been spared the joy of seeing our fans throwing bottles, tables and chairs across a sleepy square after incessant taunting from some rival fans. Has there been any trouble at this event – I haven’t seem any on the news here? I think that maybe the weather’s had something to do with it. Looks like they’ve been having the same deluges that we’ve been enjoying in Italy (see previous posting). Drinking all day in the pouring rain isn’t the same is it?
So it’s been a well-behaved tournament. I thought that hosting the event in two countries which have pretty useless football sides and largely disinterested populations might make for a poorly-attended spectacle. But on the contrary having the event located slap bang in the middle of the continent has meant that fans can travel in and travel out relatively easily, thereby reducing the number of fans hanging around. On the other hand I can’t see much evidence that the ultra-reserved Swiss and Austrians have taken the event to their hearts. It’s been a bit low-key in intensity hasn’t it? That opening ceremony and the pre-game activities have been both bizarre and underwhelming. Some of it looks real amateur hour, a bit like a Girl Guide’s Jamboree. They’re a dull lot these mittel Europeans.
So what about the footie – what teams and players have caught the eye so far? Well undoubtedly Holland have been the team of the tournament so far. Their wins over Italy and France were just great matches. That’s how to play football. And Sneijder has been my player of the Euros so far – with two cracking goals to his credit. (We’re running a goal of the tournament bet too and he’s got to be in the frame). I’m thinking that if Ronaldo does f*ck off to Real – and I’m getting to think that it may not be a bad thing for Man U to cash in on him – then I’d be very happy to take Sneijder to Old Trafford as a make-weight in the deal. Who else has impressed? I thought the Romanian goalie Lobont was excellent, likewise his mate at the back Goian. If I was manager of a newly-promoted team to the Premiership I might just take a chance on those two. David Villa looks the finished article doesn’t he – thought that injury time winner against IKEAland was painful. Hey what about Boulahrouz? I thought he was complete crap when I saw him play at Chelsea but he’s alright as it happens.
Fun moments – well what was all that sending off to the stands of the German and Austrian managers all about? We were listening to Italian TV commentary and couldn’t make out what had happened. Neither of the managers seemed to be acting overly aggressively. Jeez that ref should see Sir Alex in a bad mood. Seeing all those preening nancies in les bleus going out gave me particular pleasure. I’ve frankly heard enough over the years about how wonderful Henry, Makele, Viera and Anelka are. Well not now. I couldn’t help but smile at Henry’s own goal which was the final nail in the coffin for the French team. I’m still smiling now.
Worst moment? Tuning in to radio 5 live and having to listen to that tosspot McClaren’s opinions is unbearable. And he’s being paid a right wedge to do it. Of licence payers’ money. Shameful.
So who’s going to win? It’s very had to pick a winner isn’t it – any one of 6 teams could do it. I’m sure Holland may just run out of steam. It’s got to be now or never for Spain but against an Italian side who might just be starting to find their form, who knows? I don’t really want Portugal or Germany to win it. If I was a real gambling man I might just put a wager on Croatia. Grieves me to say it as they out-qualified England and their manager Bilic is a cheating bastard but they look a so solid crew. But if they were to win we might just end up with a re-writing of football history, with both the FA and the tosser McClaren arguing that we’d only failed to qualify because we were drawn against the best team in Europe.
Umm on second thoughts I’ll go with my adopted country Italy – my good mate Mike’s bet – even if that big girl Buffon seems to have taken to wearing cravats whilst in goal. What’s that all about?