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"Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee
Last night Brain Cox told me the past may still be out there as part of the fabric of spacetime, I'm not sure there's much of the tournament I want back. How about you? What rattled your cage? This is mine rattling.

Like the Gove puppet I'm tired of experts. Two small examples - HARRY REDKNAPP, marking Welsh and Portuguese players prior to their game assigned Pepe 7 and James Chester 8, he had them opposite each other in the line-ups! Pepe played for Real Madrid, is strong, pretty quick, brave, absolutely committed and a near talismanic influence who was eventually heroic in the final, whilst James Chester sometimes plays for West Brom and is decent. Exhibit Two - ROY KEANE (the man who threw away all Jordan Rhodes's goals for Ipswich for just £100,000), exercising his goalkeeping expertise on Rui Patricio assessing that the save from Greizmann's header in the final as one any keeper would have made. Does he have any idea of the skill, speed of foot and spatial awareness from a keeper to go backwards under a less than powerful header to not only tip it, but to get a full hand there and push it over the bar? Obviously not! But then did I hear or read anyone realising how great a contribution Patricio made to Portugal's defensive solidity? His handling and decision-making were excellent, his bravery unquestioned and when a defender was in trouble with a difficult ball he was prepared to take responsibility. Keeper of the tournament- well everyone nods through Neuer or Lloris, but it's Rui Patricio for me, he should get the freedom of Lisbon.

I heard a lot about the centre forward being dead. Okay Harry Kane looked close to it, but surely someone has noticed that Germany started the tournament without a centre forward and were toothless, they brought an old one in and briefly looked capable of winning the whole thing, until he got injured and without one they returned to toothless? And if more proof were required, Portugal brought on a Swansea surplus centre forward who scored a typical old-fashioned centre forward's goal to win the tournament .... is that Stephen Fry declaring QED?

Then there's the cult of the manager. Deschamps appeared flavour of the month, maybe it was his cute white hair and suit? Okay he turned some things round with second half changes, but mostly they were his own glaringly obvious errors. Then in the final he selected Patrick Vieira three times in Pogba, Matuidi and Sissoko, looked surprised they didn't have the subtlety to break down Ronaldoless Portuguese resistance and took off the one player potentially clever enough to do so in Payet. And lots of journalists thought he was the manager of the tournament. And suddenly decent Roy Hodgson is a pariah because English players are so afraid of public and media reaction they all climbed into the freezer against Iceland, when in fact he was just a well-paid victim. Workers often ask what are managers for, why don't players?

Unlike Brian Cox the entire media has proved unwilling to examine spacetime for evidence in even the very recent past of anything positive after England's more than disappointing performance. But very recently we had players good enough in friendlies in which the opposition was certainly trying to beat France easily, to be far better than Germany, eventually to break down that impossible Portuguese defence and even to beat Wales at the tournament. So despite all the media soul-searching about the our game needing a complete revolution we have recently proved our ability to beat the four most successful teams in the tournament.

If I were a Premier manager with Sky money behind me I'd splash some to bring the Albanian defender Hysaj from Napoli. He looked the real deal. I'd lure Jeff Hendricks from Derby and I wouldn't touch Alberto Morata with a barge-pole. And I think there could be a worse investment than the few million required to lure Adam Nagy from Ferencvaros. For all I know some of these things may already have happened.

I enjoyed Iceland's success, and Wales's too, but it did all point too the shortcomings of all the other teams whose general performance level hovered around the tired and brainless. Both Wales and Iceland functioned on the influence of two or three really good players which should never have been good enough to overcome teams and in cases like Belgium and France whole squads full of very good players.

So what rattled your cage and were there any positives? The format was weak, but without it the winners would have gone out in the first round ....... The referees weren't bad at all. The media and commentary pretty much plumbed new depths. Some of the fans were great. The pitches looked poor. The stadia looked great. The French people were impressively good losers. The games suggested the end of our domestic seasons and the start of tournaments need to be further apart - it wasn't only England looked jaded.
St Charles Owl, SHEP_HTAFC, Lord Snooty like this post
The French people were impressively good losers apart from those that decided to have a riot in Paris after losing the final, but nobody mentions that.

My take on the tournament.

Marseille- Impressive stadium, terrible stewarding and security both inside and outside of the stadium. Police- the worst of the lot, kind of glad we got knocked out and didn't have to go back.
Russian supporters- Nutjobs who attacked anything remotely English in the old port and the stadium at the end.

Lens- A kind of nothing Town in the north of the France that welcomed England and Wales fans who to the best of my knowledge all got on. Decent stadium that reminded you of stadiums back home(all seats had a good view and seemed to be on top of the pitch if you get my drift). It just wasnt big enough to stage England v Wales. Stewarding very poor, bottle necks at security and dangerous items like a BIRO being confiscated because every hooligan know choice of weapon is a BIRO!

St Etienne- The most welcoming Town of them all, bars open early in the day, DJs knocking out the tunes outside the bars for fans to sing and dance to, even the mayor said everyone was brilliant. Fantastic ground with 2 massive Kops behind the goals...atmosphere electric especially the great escape when every supporter in the ground was singing along bar the Slovakia supporters.

The downside to the tournament, 3 places could qualify meaning games like our last against Slovakia were all but guaranteed to be a draw, teams had no interest in attacking knowing a point would be sufficient to qualify. Also only 4 of the best 3rd places could qualify so nobody could make plans of where we might be playing in the last 16, if you finished top it would be one place, runners up would be elsewhere and once you'd taken a university course you could nearly work out where the 3rd place teams could play and that was from Nice in the South to Paris in the fans left in limbo as usual.
Keep it bloody simple, either 16 teams split into 4 with the top 2 qualifying or 32 teams split into groups of 4 with the top 2 qualifying.
The cost of living, I'm surprised France hasn't shut for the rest of the year...€7 for a beer, €16 for a burger with chips you'd think with that sort of income they could afford to put more than 1 toilet in each bar....mayhem on Matchday when you had to queue up for 20mins just for a slash
Devongone and Lord Snooty like this post
I have nothing positive to say about the whole competition. I thought it was the worst ever. Even worse than the last world cup.
Too many teams. Too long. Boring football.
I think this tournament was worse than World Cup 2010. The only good thing I liked about this tournament was seeing the smaller teams do well.

More to Football than the Premier League and SKY
On the whole I thought the tournament was ok, but only ok. There were some good games but they were few and far between. After the initial fan trouble looking ominous I'm glad it seemed to go away as quickly as the Russians flew in and out of France!! Very few of the so called superstar players actually played well, but the teams that played as teams over achieved, bit like the PL last season!

Strangely, probably the best bit about the whole tournament was the level of the refereeing. For once they made very few headlines and made very few contentious calls, that for me is a real positive if this level of reffing can continue across the game. Of course I suppose we should all have had a bet on Mark Clattenburg being the sole English representative in the final!!!
Devongone likes this post
Having seen how stale both individual "star" players and quite a few entire teams looked, the big thing Mr Hodgson could have done different and which might have changed our fate was to select Rashford and Sturridge up front, let them work the line as they wanted and emphasise their relative freshness. Enthusiasm is infectious. Unfortunately our two most enthusiastic players were full backs and even they often climbed into the freezer against Iceland.

My solution to the format would be 20 teams, 4 groups of 5, top 2 qualify for last 8 knockout. I would ensure an attacking attitude in all group games by having the top-goalscoring group winner playing the lowest scoring group runner-up, second top scorer versus next to lowest scoring second placer and so on. I reckon 47 games in all.

But then I'd also alter the over-long qualification process that disrupts league programmes. If there were 56 countries I'd seed perhaps 12 so they couldn't draw each other, but I'd have 28 matches played on a home and away basis - winners go through. Down to 28 teams, seeds still can't play each other, drawn into 14 games, winners through to Euro finals. So you have 14 countries who have won two home and away matches to qualify and a host. So 15 countries. The remainder will mostly be smaller countries welcoming the chance to develop alongside a couple of big name failures. Divide them into 5 groups, the winners of which qualify via this second chance. Because these will be smaller countries in general the impact on top-level league games will be greatly reduced and Liechtenstein and Andorra might get to compete against each other rather than Italy and Holland in games in which they can only hope to minimise the embarrassment.

Loved Wakey's comment by the way but how many English fans would have stayed in at Wembley to applaud Portugal beating us 0-1 in a final? Seven? Twelve?
Apart from laughing my bawz off at england getting schooled by iceland and the stupid,arrogant,bought into the hype commentators (tyldsley in particular deserves a huge punch for that infamous comment v russia.) being made to look utter fools yet again..... i have to say the tournament was a big let down.

2 or 3 games were ok,most of it was completely uneventful,dull,error strewn,safe football compounded by that daft rule to let the 3rd places through.

Iceland and their fans deserve immense credit. And were a real highpoint. Albania also surprised me with the quality of some of their play.

Elsewhere france were highly overrated,germany are by far a better footballing side but just didn't have a finisher and croatia were at times a joy to watch in midfield before being bored to death by portugal.

Portugal ? Jeezo..... Glad its all over.
You must be over the proverbial at the moment. Iceland beat England then Celtic lose to the Red Imps. What happens next, European Union unilaterally accepts Scotland as an independent nation? Can things get any better for you?

I kinda both agree and disagree about Germany. I don't think it was so much a finisher they lacked as any point to their attacks when Gomez wasn't there. They seemed happy getting from their own third of the pitch to the opposition's, but once they arrived they knew the goal was there in theory, but were clueless on the necessary moves. Thomas Muller is a good player, but I couldn't actually tell you where he plays. And then we have their full backs, Hector and Kimmich seemed to get decent reviews, but I thought they were shite. Kimmich clearly is only a midfielder, but he must have something, he's at Bayern.

Croatia almost always look the business to me, but they just know how to lose. And I think that's what Portugal had, the sense to realise all their opponents were crap. They let everyone lose to them. It was like falling upwards. In the past they've always gone out with the attitude, we've got Luis Figo / Ronaldo and class will tell (and it never did).

France had a squad of really good players, but they looked disorganised, team selection never looked right, and they seemed to rely on either a lone piece of brilliance or perhaps two players suddenly combining. Like Sissoko in the final; he played great but he was never going to create a goal except by bursting through the defence on his own and blasting in a twenty-yarder. They made themselves easy for Portugal to stop didn't they?
The Euros were a flop fuq me the only serious talking points were in the streets of France,the competition was dross start to finish bar a couple of games
But isn't a lot of footie dross when your own team's not there? You see it for what it is, not for what you're hoping against hope might happen some day.

I reckon there's so much coaching that nobody's really really bad BUT instead of the good teams becoming great and truly creative, they're so coached they're aware of all the things they could do wrong and they become boring and they follow instructions like railway lines.

On the box Rio Ferdinand said England didn't know what to do against Iceland. If you were playing in the Dumfries Sunday League Division 3 & a team equalised against you when you knew every one of your players was better than all theirs and your manager was still pissed from Saturday night and the linesman was as bent as a nine-bob note, you'd still have a fuqin clue what to do! These guys only play football, they've been doing it for years and one of their number thinks they didn't know what to do!!!!????

It's a simple game, if you play quicker, faster, work and tackle harder and spread the play all over the pitch a team worse than you is gonna start struggling. If you're the crap team then you want to compress play, don't give their good players any room to make you look shite and give the impression you all tackle like bags of cement. In't that basically how the game works?
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