Like any good tournament tradition, it's been far easier to follow since England's humiliating exit. Enough said about that the better (although I couldn't resist joining the Brexit gag bandwagon
That said, there was a memorable personal experience as I reached a personal low in attempting a delayed "live" viewing. Destroyed in an instant by one excited American colleague (and sadly for me, unanticipated) instant message to proclaim "what a crazy game, they're 2-1 down after 20 mins, did you know?". Now, there's so many things wrong with that communication, I don't know where to start. Sure enough, the match was watched later that evening with a mixed sense of dread and inevitability. To compound matters, I had also score-avoided and taped Spain v Italy played earlier that day, for which Ian Darke kindly reminded me as I watched the England game, had seen the Italians triumph. Bugger.
So that's the lowlight covered, here are my highlights/other lowlights:
- Good: A great run by the Welsh. Helping me to maintain my ladbrokes account by fulfilling my bet on them reaching the semi-finals. Ramsay gave one of the performances of the tournament and Belgium had no answer.
- Bad: The yellow card, ruling Ramsay out of the semi, and the really bad - the miserly Portuguese waiting to take advantage.
- Good: The worst penalty shootout in living memory. And it involved the Germans!
- Bad: The 120 minutes before said shootout. And the fact years of English anguish is solely down to the fact the Germans NEVER miss!
- Good: A terrific France team coming together at just the right time, to be the tournament team improving with every game. And their star player stepping up in a big way and not disappointing.
- Bad: Somehow, Giroud is still on this terrific team. It makes no sense...
- Very Good: The semi-final of France and Germany producing the game of the tournament by far. German domination, followed by dodgy German defending (what! see years of English anguish above... where was this in '96!), followed by superb support from the French crowd and their best players rising to the occasion
- Very Bad: The cluster of how the knockout draw opened up. Can't help feel the games have peaked with that encounter and we're robbed a good final. Hope I'm wrong.
So that leaves me with a final prediction, so here goes:
- I'm going all in on France glory. A comfortable 2-0 win and the demonstration of invincibility when they are allowed to host a tournament.
- I may miss half of the game by incredulously exclaiming, "Mark Clattenburg got the refereeing job for the final!?" Unreal
- Lots of pouting from CR7
- He went quiet on the scoring front but I'm thinking Payet will register.
- Pogba's rumoured transfer fee rising exponentially as the game is played out.
- I will snigger quietly by cheering on Umtiti.....he,he
That is all. Game on.