London, England

Thank goodness for Red Bull and espressos. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, 11 days crisscrossing the UK and an early-hours finish in Northern Ireland the night before were taking their toll.

Belfast to London via Liverpool, with on-air commitments both ends of the day, was always going to be a challenge.

Up at 7am, a quick flick through the papers en route to BBC Northern Ireland and live on 5 Live at 8.50am. A quick bite at the Europa then a taxi to Belfast International for the mass fisty-cuffs with an OAP that constitutes a flight with Easy Jet. (Why can't they allocate seat numbers rather than boarding group letters?) Back to our Liverpool hotel, load bags, M6, M40 and, after 2000 miles, into the capital for the first time on our Euro 2008 road trip.

Le Bouchon Bordelais in southwest London was where we were to suffer the end of an era with the French. There was a brasserie in one section, a bustling bar in the middle and a primary viewing area in another. All three were open-fronted onto Battersea Rise.

Clem meets two French fans, though he doesn't look too happy that one's trying to give him a hug

I'd been here before on the day the French beat England in Euro 2004 and two years later when the Spanish were vanquished at the World Cup. The celebrations were so noisy that we crashed off air with the vibrations.

This was a different experience. When your brightest hope is stretchered off, your centre-half makes a moronic challenge in the box and your waning superstar deflects the ball into his own goal, you know it's not going to be your night or indeed tournament.

As the Kronenberg and moules frites were handed round, the tears leaked out. The French were actually philosophical in defeat. No English-style surliness or random acts of destruction, just the simple honest assessment that their team hadn't been good enough. It was, they said, time to consign the 1998 and 2000 successes to the history books and prepare for next one.

Mark Clemmit is a 5 Live reporter. Please check our FAQs if you have any questions.


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