A tournament that lacked stardust, and seemed to drag on longer than the Chilcot report, received the final it deserved last night (July 11).
Where were the superstars? Where were the top strikers? Where were the magic dribblers, the speedsters who would get you on the eedge of your seat? Where were the playmakers capable of unlocking well-drilled defences with one inspired pass?
Not in France for Euros 2016 that’s for sure.
How fitting that Portugal won the trophy without main man Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch. The winning goal arrived when all the star quality had been removed from the final on a stretcher.
It was another tournament victory for all-out defence and another smack in the eye for the clowns who saw fit to increase the event to 24 teams thus encouraging safety-first football from cowardly coaches in the knowledge you’d have to be pretty hopeless to get knocked out early on.
The great attraction of previous Euros Finals was the need to hit the ground running. Slow starts would quite rightly lead to elimination, not a place in the final.
Portugal finished third in their group after three draws and yet won the competition. The only team they beat in 90 minutes was a Welsh team embarrassingly and unforgivably over-awed by a semi-final appearance.
What was the point of group stages that only saw the demise of a quarter of the teams?
Organisers did get unfortunate that the best teams plus England all ended up in the same half of the draw. France reached the final knackered after overcoming Germany. Star man Antoine Greizmann was lethargic, probably as he’d carried the lumbering Olivier Giroud for the rest of the tournament.
Having Giroud as your lead attacker was always a fatal flaw in France’s plan for glory which was a shame as if ever a country deserved some joy after recent events it’s the one still suffering from senseless attacks on its population.
Even tournament gianst Germany couldn’t win without a striker and even penalties were beyond the skill level of numerous Germans and Italians.
Their shoot-out did give me the biggest laugh of the tournament. For the rest of Europe, England’s pathetic demise at the hands of Iceland provided the giggles.
Especially in Wales, but that didn’t stop many of their cheer-leaders, led by the BBC, demanding us English fans supported their over-praised team.
Like the chances of success under Roy Hodgson, it was never going to happen.
Some are saying the success of minnows like Wales and Iceland enhanced the tournament, but I disagree.
If those shock results, and the admittedly impressive celebrations they prompted, happened alongside some top quality football. some great goals and thrilling contests I’d have said this was a top tournament.
But it wasn’t. It was a bore-fest from start to finish, even after England went out.
1) Iceland’s celebrations
2) English referee Mark Clattenburg (above)
3) Singing of the Welsh fans
4) Italy’s performance against Spain.
5) Germans and Italians missing penalties.
1) Over-the-top Wales celebrations.
2) Roy Hodgson’s sheer hopelessness.
3) Hooligans on the rampage.
4) A boring team finishing first.
5) Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart.