Euro 2016 – Only 2 Remain

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We have our finalists.

Portugal will face France for the title of European Champions, The contest will take place on Sunday in the magnificent Stade de France located just north of Paris.

The Semi Finals were always likely to be filled with tension and fear of defeat so close to the ultimate prize. All four nations however should have glided onto the pitch with belief in their ability, yet early on it appeared they were all riddled with self doubt.

Ultimately there were deserved winners in both ties.

In Lyon on Wednesday history was made…

Wales were in their 1st ever Semi Final of a major competition and faced a Portugal side looking to extend an impressive recent record in this competition (2 Semi’s and 1 Final in the last 4 Euro’s)

A dream was dashed with a bullet Cristiano header and a prod of Nani’s boot. Both goals coming in the space of just 3 minutes in the 2nd half gave the Welsh an uphill task they were never likely to complete. Ronaldo’s goal moved him joint-top of the competitions’ all time scorer chart, a position shared with the now disgraced Michel Platini who had also found the back of the net on 9 occasions.

Coleman’s men can travel back to Cardiff with their heads held high at their achievements as attentions quickly turn to towards Russia 2018. You get the feeling that Portugal’s tournament experience gave them that extra edge when it mattered on the night.

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So who would Portugal face in Sunday’s showpiece?

A matchup which divided opinions saw the host nation run out comfortable and deserved winners. The World Champions headed home after a night where they struggled to find a killer touch, a familiar story since the start of the campaign if truth be told. I wouldn’t imagine anyone predicted Bayern’s Muller not scoring for a country always likely to contest the latter stages.

It was another night for Antoine Griezmann. The little magician who was rejected by many clubs in France as a teen due to his height is now the icon of the nation, 6 goals so far for the Atletico Madrid man.

A disputable penalty decision initially caused confusion before the referee made his decision clear at the end of a 1st half dominated by German possession. Schweinsteiger was a yard off when Evra connected with a header but it appeared more ball to hand than deliberate handball. That made no difference to Griezmann who calmly slotted the ball past Neuer for a lead at the break. Although Germany pressed for an equaliser Les Bleus always appeared comfortable and when their No 7 produced a neat, yet difficult finish for 2-0 it was game over. Substitutions were made both offensive and defensive in attempts to change the game but it was too far beyond the reach of Low’s men.

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And so onto the Final of Euro 2016…

France will be overwhelming favourites, they have scored goals and unlike Portugal have actually won numerous games of football!

They will be at home, have the majority of support within the stadium and they have a team full of players on top form.

Portugal will once again be heavy reliant on the performances of Ronaldo and Nani who are capable of turning a game with a moment of magic but we just can’t see past the hosts.

Euro 2016 has provided us with so many stories and we believe it would be a fitting end to see France skipper Hugo Lloris lift the trophy at the weekend.

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Ronaldo image sourced from; www.indianexpress.com
Griezmann image sourced from; www.rmcsport.bfmtv.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

Euro 2016 – Quarter Final Review

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We are down to the last 4!

Portugal, Wales, Germany and France will contest the Semi Finals of Euro 2016. Some have progressed impressively and others not so much, let’s have a quick recap of the quarter finals:-

Portugal were the 1st team through with a penalty shootout defeat of Poland. An early goal gave hope of an open game but as soon as Sanches equalised that hope was diminished. What felt a long time later Ricardo Quaresma fired home the decisive kick. Somehow Portugal are in the Semi’s having not won a game in 90mins…Madness!

Wales, Wales, Wales what can you say? Their 1st tournament appearance since 1958 and a final appearance is within touching distance. They had the upper hand over Belgium in the qualifying group to get here and they carried that on in Lille with a come from behind 3-1 win. A long range drive from Nainggolan was cancelled out by Ashley Williams. Then a magnificent Cruyff turn from free agent Robson-Kanu had the Belgian defence baffled, he slotted home and a Vokes header sealed a famous win. Wales squad is littered with Englishmen and this will no doubt raised questions over selection policy at the English FA.

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Moving to Saturday in Bordeaux and it was fair to say we anticipated a memorable encounter. We got one in the shape of some of the worst attempts from 12 yards you are ever likely to see, Zaza and Pelle hang your heads in shame. Before 6 misses from the 1st 10 kicks, we were then treated to a tactical 1-1. You got the feeling that these two superpowers had a mutual respect for each other and were happy for the tie to be decided in the way it was. Italy have gone home with huge credit from the neutrals and Chelsea fans can look forward to what Conte can bring them next season.

Finally it fell to the host nation to end a dream. France disposed of the heroic Icelanders with a 5-2 victory, goals from all of the French’s key men will also bode well for them. Iceland had shipped 4 before half time but refused to go home without leaving every bit of fight on that pitch. They battled to the end and we all applauded as the scored a 2nd late on to make the score line slightly more respectable.

Onward to the Semi Finals this week where we will see Ronaldo v Bale and World Champions v home favourites.

One final game in the Stade De France awaits for two of these nations on Sunday 10th July.

Who would bet against an Andy King double? The Leicester man has already picked up the Premier League title this season, can he now lift the Henri Delaunay trophy?

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Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Wales image sourced from; www.mirror.co.uk
Semi Final image sourced from; www.totalsportek.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

Euro 2016 – The Last 16 Round Up

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The knockout rounds have begun, no more teams tactically playing for 3rd place leaving themselves with a hope of staying in France for a few days longer.

It’s best we start off by saying…Thank goodness for Sunday and Monday. The 6 teams that played on Saturday provided us with a poor spectacle for the latter stages of a major international tournament.

Poland v Switzerland opened proceedings in St Etienne and produced 2 talking points. An outrageous overhead kick from Stoke’s Shaqiri and a woeful penalty in the shootout from Arsenal’s new £30Mil man Granit Xhaka. Poland progress and that’s without the prolific Lewandowski finding the net so far.

Moving to the highly anticipated “Battle of Britain.” It very much disappointed as Wales and Northern Ireland produced a cagey affair. It was settled after a Bale cross delivered into the dreaded corridor of uncertainty and was touched past his own keeper by the unfortunate McAuley, the challenge had to be made with Robson-Kanu awaiting a tap in.

To finish the day, a terrible match produced an extra time win for Ronaldo and co. Quaresma’s nod over the line was the game’s 1st on target attempt in the 117th minute and we were all relieved to be able to turn off in time for the Joshua fight! Portugal are in the quarters having yet to win a game in normal time.

Sunday needed to raise our spirits and it did just that…

As expected a spirited ROI gave hosts France a scare with a 2nd minute penalty from man-of-the-moment Robbie Brady. Then Antione Griezmann decide to silence his critics by turning up to the party, a fantastic 2nd half display saw him terrorise the Irish backline and score twice completing a 2-1 comeback win.

Fearfully for the remaining sides, Germany and Belgium destroyed their opposition to comfortably progress. 3-0 and 4-0 wins respectively and it could have been a lot more for either, do not be surprised if these two contest the final on 10th July.

Monday saw us reach the conclusion of the round and it produced the biggest shock the competition has EVER seen, Iceland 2-1 England!

An early Rooney penalty should have settled any lingering nerves for the favourites but within seconds it was 1-1 and minutes the turnaround was complete. Joe Hart should have kept out a Sigthorsson effort but just like Bale’s free kick, his left hand wasn’t strong enough.

Out-battled and out-thought seems a fair way to sum up a woeful night for the English with Hodgson resigning immediately after the defeat.

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In the earlier game Italy produced and stellar “Italian” performance, occasionally threatening going forward and unbeatable at the back. Just like the Belgium game it was wrapped up with a late Pelle volley for a 2-0 scoreline. A mouth-watering Quarter Final with Germany awaits for what was supposed to be their worst side for 50 years.

The Quarter Finals start on Thursday and with every team just 2 games from the showpiece final it should be an exciting watch.

Some of the usual suspects will know what to expect in terms of pressure however the appearance of Iceland, Poland and Wales provides a possible twist for sides that in effect have nothing to lose.

Have we seen the last twist of Euro 2016? Possibly not.

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Iceland image sourced from; www.indianexpress.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

Euro 2016 – Full 1st Round Review

Well that’s come and gone quickly! We waited in anticipation for one of the most wide open European Championships to get underway and in the blink of an eye we have had the chance to see every team in action.

Qualified

Group A Group B Group C
France Wales Germany
Switzerland England Poland
Slovakia Northern Ireland
Group D Group E Group F
Croatia Italy Hungary
Spain Belgium Iceland
Rep Ireland Portugal

So just who has impressed, disappointed or held their own in the 1st round?

Made an impression

We’ll start with the obvious in Italy and Germany, 2 of the big boys went about their jobs in a professional fashion and will be hoping for a prolonged stay.

Croatia could very well be an outsider worth keeping an eye on, a wonder strike from Luka Modric is going to take some beating for goal of the tournament. Add in a deserved victory against Spain and an “easier” run to the final and you never know.

Additional mentions for Hungary, Poland and Wales. All have impressed with the way they have attempted to play. Lewandowski and Bale are match winners for the Poles and Welsh whereas Hungary who have turned up without anything to lose, currently boast the most goals scored in the competition (6 in 3 games).

Will be disappointed

England will be kicking themselves by not negotiating Group B in the way they should have. A 2nd placed finish has left them in the much tougher half of the latter stages.

Controversially going to say the host nation France, without the resurgence of the talented Payet you have to wonder what might have been. They’ll need to improve to progress past a spirited Rep Ireland.

Sweden, Russia and Austria all came through the same “weak” qualification group and perhaps no major surprise to see them all on the 1st plane home given how they have performed.

Stood their ground

Little Iceland, a country with a population half the size of Glasgow holding the mighty Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to a 1-1 draw and deservedly progressing from the group. Lots of talk about fairy stories this season and the men from Reykjavik need adding to this list.

A strange category for Spain to be mentioned, Iniesta has proved once again to be a maestro. A tough 2nd round match vs. Italy awaits after a Sergio Ramos missed penalty against Croatia. They’ll probably still be there or thereabouts but they are not the all-conquering side of recent years.

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We are starting to see Euro 2016 spark to life and knockout football will only aid this even further.

One thing we have certainly been impressed with is that every game has been well contested, played in the right spirit and the general standard of refereeing has been high so far and long may it continue.

It’s been entertaining albeit tense, but hopefully there is more good football to be seen in the next few days.

Certainly make no plans this weekend with 6 games split over Saturday and Sunday!

All the best to your supported nations for the rest of the championship.

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Last 16 image sourced from; www.goal.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

England’s Euro Squad

Given Roy’s revelations that he’s considering taking Man Utd’s man of the moment Marcus Rashford and Arsenal’s answer to Darren Anderton (Jack Wilshere) to Euro 2016, we felt compelled to give our view on the imminent announcement of the final England 23.

It’s only a few weeks away, thousands of fans from all over Europe will descend on France in the hope of seeing their nations perform and do the best they can.

In other cases the expectation is slightly higher. They are looking for a prolonged campaign culminating in appearances in a semi-final or even the final itself. One of these nations will be England.

The media and many fans claim to have “the best league in the world” so the time has come for the national team to start backing up that claim and prove they have what it takes to perform in more than quality-lacking qualifying groups. This is a chance for Roy Hogdson to put together the best squad any England manager has had at his disposal for decades.

So we are going to take a look and suggest (based on current form and Injuries aside) who the three lions should be taking across the channel :-

Goalkeepers x 3

J Hart – F Foster – J Butland

  • These 3 are all capable of being England’s No1 at any given point
  • Yes Hart will start but not a position for England to worry about

Defenders x 8

C Smalling – G Cahill – J Stones – P Jagielka – D Rose – A Cresswell – K Walker – N Clyne

  • 2 right backs, 2 left backs and 4 centre halves
  • A good mix of youth , experience and versatility
  • Full backs should all be hungry and fighting to make the place their own

Midfielders x 8

R Barkley – D Drinkwater – E Dier – D Alli – J Milner – T Walcott – R Sterling – M Noble

  • Not the nation’s strongest area, need to be grateful for the Spurs duo of Alli and Dier’s progression this year.
  • Not blessed with good enough width and having to take players who are too often hit or miss (Walcott & Sterling)
  • We can only see a Midfield diamond working given the players available
  • Certainly an opportunity for Barkley to prove if he is the player we think he can be
  • Drinkwater in on total merit and Milner a safe option.

Dier-and-Alli-Image

Forwards x 4

W Rooney – H Kane – J Vardy – J Defoe

  • Currently blessed in this area, the best striking options since the late 90’s
  • Captain and all time top scorer is a must, not matter of club form
  • Kane & Vardy will turn up and play without fear
  • Defoe is scoring goals in a poor team, is a poacher and rarely lets anyone down. A solid back up option instead of a half fit Welbeck or a fragile Sturridge.

Leaving at home

GK –  B Foster, T Heaton, J Ruddy

Def – L Shaw, P Jones, G Johnson, L Baines, K Gibbs, C Chambers, R Bertrand

Mid – F Delph, J Wilshere, A Lallana, M Carrick, J Henderson, A Oxlade-Chamberlain, J Lingard

For – D Sturridge, D Welbeck, S Berahino, C Austin, A Carroll

Mentions have to be given to players that the FA should be looking to include going forward, some will be controversial names but moving away from a “top team” players focus is a must for progression:-

Joel Ward & W Zaha (Crystal Palace)                                  B Afobe (Bournemouth)

Reece Oxford (West Ham)                                                     Andre Gray (Burnley)

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)                                 Will Hughes (Derby)

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)                             Demarai Gray (Leicester City)

Kane-Image

Our potential England starting XI v Russia on 11th June

Hart

Walker     Smalling     Cahill     Cresswell

Dier

Alli                     Milner

Barkley

Rooney            Kane

Dier and Alli image sourced from; www.express.co.uk/sport/football
Kane image sourced from; http://www.matiastanea.gr/gb/

Euro 2016 – Who’s All Going?

This week has seen both highs and lows for France.

The race to qualify for Europe’s premier competition next summer has been rightly overshadowed by the terrible acts of terrorism that we have witnessed.

Back to the beautiful game however as we now have a completed line up for Euro 2016.

Euro-16-Teams-Confirmed

As usual the pot seedings are questionable. I’m not sure how qualifying via the play offs means you are 2 pots higher than teams who topped the group but we are all aware that Uefa & Fifa aren’t really sure what they are doing!

But what a tournament it is shaping up to be with so many questions, new nations involved, great support for sure and perhaps most importantly the promise of a great summer of footy.

Let’s take a look at a few who may surprise or disappoint in the competition:-

Winners – Germany

Who can see past the current World Champions? They topped one of the most difficult qualifying groups it also has to be said.

With the talent at their disposal and confidence gained from Brazil 14 the “always there or thereabout” Germans will be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

Dark Horses – England

A controversial choice perhaps but I seriously believe the serial disappointers that are England have serious credentials this time around.

A 100% qualifying round and a new youthful line up could provide them with a fearless element that may surprise.

The usual problem of facing a decent side at some point will occur but the Three Lions may just have enough in the locker this time.

1st Plane Home – Republic Of Ireland

Yep, sorry it’s a home nation.

The Irish have done well to qualify but the Bosnians didn’t provide as stern a test as we had all expected.

With a pot seeding of 4 a tough group stage is inevitable and they just don’t have enough quality to compete across the channel.

Surprise Package – Austria

Came through a group containing Russia and Zlatan’s Sweden unbeaten, with 9 wins from 10, scoring 22 and conceding just 5.

Only their 2nd time at the championships and with stars such as David Alaba they can impress a few who may not be aware of them.

austria-euro-2016-football-team

This is pre the official draw which will take place on December 12th it must be said.

All in all some big nations, big players and big ego’s will be landing in early July and are sure to impress.

Difficult not to start getting a little excited unless you are Scottish or Dutch!

Let’s all hope everything goes without a hitch in a country which has clearly been targeted and roll on Euro 2016.

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Euro 2016 Pot Image Sourced From; http://www.redcafe.net
Austria Team Image Sourced From; http://sportinglife.aol.co.uk
Euro 2016 Trophy Image Sourced From; http://footballtripper.com