After 5 days of mostly pulsating football the surprise team for many is Italy who played in a very non-Italian way to fairly easily beat a very disappointing Belgium side 2-0. No surprise that Germany, Spain and France all won their opening games, but at this stage Italy look the most complete team. Spain huffed and puffed their way to a late 1-0 victory.
Which teams might as well not bothered to turn up? The winner of this competition is Czech Republic, who played from the first minute for a 0-0 draw, and if they got out of their half during the whole game versus Spain then I missed it. With some of the more extraordinary hairstyles floating around their players even looked dull.
Who is the best supported country? Iceland. Over 10% of their 320,000 population have travelled to France. Their reward was to create a supremely sulky Cristiano Ronaldo with a 1-1 draw against Portugal. Even more impressive when one considers that the Icelandic league only operates for 4 months a year due to the snow and ice that covers the country.
What are the right clothes to bring to Euro 2016?
Does anyone in Europe feel sorry even in the slightest for Russia? For 90 minutes this afternoon I became for the first time in my life a fervent Slovakia supporter. Tales of revolting behaviours and violence have filled the news the last few days, and their suspended sentence from UEFA is frankly not worth the paper it is written on. The reality is that it would never be put into operation. The lawyers would be rubbing their hands with glee.
Should the Proclaimers have walked their 500 miles from Edinburgh where would they have got to? A random thought but actually rather interesting
Why are the commentators and pundits in shock that if a player pulls a shirt in the penalty area a penalty is given? This is the rule. Maybe if this rule was more adhered to there would be fewer such fouls and better games? The Romania penalty in their game versus Switzerland was the perfect example.
What information are the media given on their team sheets?
France are the EURO 2016 champions of last minute goals. On balance lucky to beat Albania who looked a proper football side for 70 minutes tonight. The end of their tournament.
We have not seen the winner of EURO 2016. Opening games can be notoriously unpredictable but none of the teams so far seem to have the ability to go and win. A few decent goals, Bale and Payet as examples, but the overall play has in many games been a little scrappy.
The refereeing is poor. Any number of poor decisions have been made, mostly failure to give penalties or free kicks. The value of the official behind the goal is zero. In the Wales V Slovakia game the official was 2 yards away and missed an elbow to the upper shoulder from Skrtel. Albania can feel aggrieved not to have had at least one penalty in their game.
The riots/disturbances seem to be initiated by Russian and French “ultras” ( whatever they are, I prefer the term psychopath). There are clear unbiased reports of fans sitting drinking peacefully and being attacked by groups of men in balaclavas, clearly premeditated. The reports are that the French police seem not to be effective and are ignoring a lot of violence.
There are some truly ridiculous hairstyles, and in the main the perpetrators of bad hair should be spending more time on football practice and less time in the barbers chair. Slovakia are the winners of the bad hairstyle Euro 2016 currently. The worst one? Easy. Kuco from Slovakia.
There have been a fair amount of hard/dangerous tackles. Many of these in the Albania v Switzerland game. The first serious injury awaits, and referees have been poor in recognising the dangerous from the simply bad tackles. A number of two footed tackles have gone seemingly unseen and certainly unpunished.
The best team performance? Another easy one. Wales. A real team reminding me of Leicester City. The sum of the parts are greater than the individual components.
Fans are determined to enjoy themselves whatever.
Street Art now recognises football. Thierry Henry. Just superb.
England are going to give their fans a rollercoaster ride. They played well but did they really look like a great side? Not really. Maybe quarter-final material, and maybe not.