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Much as the Dutch, Turks, Russians and co have lit up Euro 2008, the ingredients for Sunday's final are close to perfect in TV terms.

OK, so the audience would be bigger if one of the home nations had somehow made it. However, in all honesty, this tournament really hasn't missed us. The football has largely been glorious - eight goals in two semis, with no extra-time or penalties, is not the norm in modern tournament football.

Continue reading "A dream final?"

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So, just three games to go, of which we have two live - tonight's semi between Germany and Turkey followed by Sunday's final - while ITV have one - tomorrow's semi between Spain and Russia.

This is my 10th major football tournament working in some capacity for the BBC and I think the standard of football is possibly the highest it's been in any of them.

The first tournament I worked on was Italia 90, as a junior assistant producer in London. While the English, in particular, remember the tournament fondly for Gazza and the two epic knockout games with Cameroon and Germany, it wasn't actually that great a football spectacle.

Continue reading "How TV football coverage has evolved"


With the exception of the early stages of Japan/Korea in 2002, our studio team has been based in a host country for all the recent major football tournaments. This has all sorts of advantages but can mean we have to rely on viewing figures and anecdotal evidence to assess the impact back home. With none of the UK's teams making it to the party out here, the reaction at home to this tournament is particularly difficult for us to gauge.

Continue reading "Life behind the cameras"


I'm writing this shortly before Group C gets under way with our live coverage of France v Romania. The football so far has been pretty good but with few surprises - impressive wins for Portugal and Germany, somewhat unlucky narrow defeats for both hosts.

Technically, most aspects of a tricky operation have started reasonably well. The extra mini outside broadcasts and reporters we've had at our live games have allowed us the immediacy of pitchside access and other extras, like a post-match interview with Michael Ballack which we ran during Sunday's live show.

Continue reading "Off to a smooth start"


When none of the home nations qualified for Euro 2008, BBC Sport, as rights holders, had two options:

Either we could do what our predecessors were obliged to do in the same circumstances back in 1984 - sulk, lick our wounds, and scale the coverage back to a bare, begrudging minimum (only two live games were shown).

Or the other option, the one we've been allowed to take, is to cover the tournament comprehensively anyway and rejoice in what should be a great festival of football.

Continue reading "BBC Sport and Euro 2008"

What's your role at Euro 2008?
I'm one of two Match of the Day programme editors for BBC TV at Euro 2008, my colleague Andrew Clement being the other. Between us, we will be in charge of the content for all the live and highlights coverage on BBC1 through the tournament. We'll be based in the International Broadcast Centre in Vienna for most of June. I've used this analogy before, but if the programme is a rally car, then the director is the driver steering it - "coming to camera one, run VT, cue Gary" and so on - and the editor is the navigator, supposedly possessed of a cool head and a sense of where we're going. Only with a file of someone else's football research and a self-penned running order instead of a map.

Continue reading "About Paul Armstrong"

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