Friday, 17 June 2016

Shocks and relief

Since I last posted, France avoided the potential ignominy of drawing nil-nil with Albania by slotting two good late goals. Payet again sealed the match with a good finish and is absolutely deserving of his "player of the tournament so far" label.

Then yesterday we had the big England vs Wales match. I spent the most part of the morning scanning my inbox for the all-staff email to announce the office would be closing and that we'd be having a colossal football party in the afternoon. Nothing happened. A lowly TV was wheeled out (like being in science class at school); and then a laggy stream was soundlessly put on. Obviosuly I made my own arrangements, supported by the 4G network so as not to drain company bandwidth - and I watched on as England went in to battle.

Things I realised:
  • That the BBC really can do an excellent rousing programme opening sequence. It brought goose bumps, and made me desperately want the team to do well
  • Aaron Ramsey is really annoying. From his ridiculous hairstyle (a nod to a Romanian World Cup team of old, or just peroxide accident). He fouled constantly and thought he was Robbie Savage also, which was deeply irritating.
  • The BBC's Welsh commentators seemed to have a serious loss of perspective, labelling Bale as the best player in Europe and suggesting that handball doesn't count if the player is looking elsewhere.
  • That England are actually pretty good. They are playing with an assurance and dominating games. I like our current team.
  • That despite Hart's error for the Wales goal, I would never swap keepers with Iceland.
A super result in the end, and good to see Vardy and Sturridge both getting into the competition. I am sure that they, as well as Kane and Sturridge will continue to feature going forward. And nice to hear people being positive about our team again.

The only downside is that our group remains very much open - all 4 teams still able to go through. Certainly if we blow it against Slovakia, we need to do so by one goal only. Or we need to pray for a draw between Wales and Russia- that would see us through.

Northern Ireland followed up our game with a simply cracking result against Ukraine; 2-0. This sets them up for an incredibly tough final match against Germany, who could only draw 0-0 with Poland. That group also remains very much alive going into the final games.

And so the weekend approaches which means a full schedule of games today and tomorrow and the first of the group deciders on Sunday.

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