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Vienna

So that's it. Euro 2008 is all over. And I still haven't heard Ultravox's 1980 hit 'Vienna'. Did you know it never made it to number one? It was kept off top spot by Joe Dolce's 'Shaddup You Face'. I have a disturbing feeling I may have bought that, although it's certainly not in my record collection anymore.

I'm not going to do the whole highlights/lowlights thing. I'll leave that to others. What I will say is this: Vienna has been a wonderful host. Sometimes it's felt like the tournament was being played in another country far, far away, but I'd view that as a plus rather than a minus. It has certainly allowed me to retain a much-needed sense of perspective. You can get a little carried away in the hysteria that sometimes grips the big tournaments.

Continue reading "Goodnight Vienna"


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Vienna

It's only right and proper that I hand over one of my final posts to Mr Graham Taylor, a man who brought me a lot of joy back in the late Eighties during his time as Aston Villa manager.

Despite his standing in the game, he has suffered some terrible and unnecessary ribbing - some would say abuse - at the hands of his radio colleague John Murray during Euro 2008.

Now it's time to redress the balance, so over to you, Graham...

Continue reading "Turning the tables on Mr Murray"



Vienna

Sometimes us journalists expect more than we end up being given. Take Samuel Eto'o, for instance. Like a lot of big-name footballers this summer, he had been jetted into Vienna by the sportswear company he promotes as they looked to cash in on the worldwide interest in Euro 2008.

Naturally, we saw it as the chance to ask the Cameroon striker if he was on his way to England to play in the Premier League. This was, after all, a player had been told his Barcelona career was all but over by new coach Pep Guardiola.

Continue reading "Eto'o silent as Motty spills the beans"



Vienna

Everyone's talking about Andrei Arshavin, how he's lighting up Euro 2008 with skills that have earned praise from the great man himself, Zinedine Zidane. Yet Arshavin is not some boy wonder. He's 27 and made his international debut on 17 May, 2002,

So why has it taken six years for the Russian 'Ronaldinho' to show the world just how good he is? It's a fair question, one that I put to Konstantin Kleshchev, a man who knows a bit about the burgeoning star of Euro 2008.

"We've always known he's a very good player," said Kleshchev, a reporter on Russian football for 25 years. "But not everyone has believed in him and could see what he was capable of."

Continue reading "Arshavin in debt to Dutch duo"



Vienna

It's ironic that Match of the Day editor Paul Armstrong chose today to blog about the evolution of TV coverage at big football tournaments.

Germany's Euro 2008 semi-final with Turkey was warming up nicely when the live feed from the host broadcaster went down here at the IBC. Not our doing, I hasten to add. It was something totally beyond our control.

Continue reading "Problems at the IBC"



Vienna

There is a little tension in the air at the Broadcast Centre here in Vienna. Spanish television station Cadena Cope have put an unnecessary strain on international relations by "dissing" both the Italians and the Russians.

One sign above the door to their compound bears the words "Arrivederci Italia" while another to the side has a list of Spanish scalps at Euro 2008 so far, finished off with the line "Russia, are you ready to lose?" Could be a case of some humble paella being eaten on Friday morning.

Continue reading "Mischievous Spanish in confident mood"



We thought it was about time we threw a few Euro 2008 questions in the direction of Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill, who has been part of the BBC Sport team in Vienna. So now's your chance. Using the comment box below, send us a question for Martin and we'll film his answers for a forthcoming edition of Match of the Day Unplugged.

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Thanks very much for all your questions.We will be putting the best of them to Martin later on Wednesday.



Vienna

Andrei Arshavin looks to have eclipsed David Villa as Euro 2008's hottest property - and the inspirational Russian No 10 has also leapt above the Spaniard in BBC Sport's Player Rater rankings following the quarter-finals.

Arshavin now has a 9.02 rating after inspiring Guus Hiddink's side to victory over the much-fancied Netherlands, while Villa (8.13) has dropped to third place, behind Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc (8.37), after getting a 7.0 mark for his performance in Spain's penalty shoot-out win over Italy.

Continue reading "Arshavin on the up - Villa slides"



Vienna

I wonder what Zinedine Zidane made of it all? A Frenchman who spent the best years of his glittering football career playing in Italy and Spain, he was at the Ernst Happel Stadium on Sunday night to see the last of the Euro 2008 quarter-finals.

On paper - rather an outdated phrase, don't you think? - this should have been a classic, but then football's history is littered with games that have failed to live up their pre-match hype.

Continue reading "Zidane waltzes in as Italy bow out"



Vienna

Another example of Dutch unity at Euro 2008: Netherlands fans will sing the football anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" a few minutes before tonight's quarter-final against Russia kicks off.

The gesture is a show of support for defender Khalid Bouhlarouz, who suffered a personal tragedy three days ago when he and his wife, Sabia, lost their prematurely-born baby daughter, Anissa.

Continue reading "Dutch bond grows stronger"


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