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My colleague Saj Chowdhury has done a bit of a straw poll in the office and here is our(unofficial) team of Euro 2008.

You can see how it compares to the official team here.

Fernando Torres was your star of the final in Player Rater and deservedly so after winning the cup for Spain.

But his two goals in the tournament weren't enough to get him into our overall team. Have we got it right or have we dropped the ball?

Continue reading "Team of the tournament"

Recent entries


A modicum of stability has been restored now that we've reached the quarter-finals. For 12 days, it was a diet of game-one-day-travel-the-next etc. But that sort of schedule is something I've come to associate with covering a football tournament.

The whole thing flashes by, so you enjoy the moments of calm such as when producer Phil Wye and I stopped for lunch on the lakeside terrace of the Grand Hotel in Zell-am-Zee en route between Innsbruck and Klagenfurt. Very pleasant. It's somewhere described in my Rough Guide as "picture-postcard perfection", although applies to almost every place we pitch up. In the same way that seemingly every signpost provides a titter...

Continue reading "Time to reflect after whirlwind tour"


My opinion of Austrians is definitely on the rise. They might not care that their team has crashed out of Euro 2008, they might not be bothered about the tournament at all, but they know where to draw the line when it comes to matters of culture.

Salzburg is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a fact of which the populace are rightly proud. After all, he is an accepted musical genius. It is also a prime destination for fans of The Sound of Music, a film not often associated with the word genius but enduringly popular nonetheless.

Continue reading "Not one of my favourite things"


Whenever someone mentions the word "statistics" I can't help but think of past Miss World competitions. And in case my wife is reading this, the last one I watched must have been at least 20 years ago. Yep, that's long before we met, my love.

Anyway, the BBC Sport website's Player Rater has thrown up some interesting numbers following the completion of the group games at Euro 2008...

Continue reading "Lies, damned lies and statistics"

Belfast, Northern Ireland

They say the Europa is the most bombed hotel in the world. It is also the epicentre of Belfast life; morning coffee, afternoon tea, lunches and dinners all served here.

It has photos of famous guests lining the walls of the staircase that leads to the huge pictured café bar gawping out on to Great Victoria Street. Former US President Bill Clinton, who once booked out the whole place for his entourage, even has one of the swanky suites named after him.

Continue reading "Beauties in Belfast"


So it's all over for the Austrians, but at least they won their own private duel with co-hosts Switzerland.

The Swiss saw their tournament end after just two games. The Austrians, with a little help from English referee Howard Webb, ensured they still had a fighting chance of making it through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 as they prepared to take on old foes Germany on Monday night.

Continue reading "Austria's Euro dream is not quite dead"


Napoleon Bonaparte once said that victory belongs to the most persevering, but look where he ended up, stuck on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic.

And after my first experience of winter sports left me feeling slightly dazed and nauseous, I definitely think that knowing when to quit is far more important.

Continue reading "Beaten by the bob"


I never knew Austria were once quite good at football. It took a painting - apparently a very famous one here - that opened my eyes to that fact.

Paul Meissner's iconic image of the "Wunderteam" of the 1930s is currently on show in the Wien Museum. I was going to take a photo of it for the blog but was told I couldn't.

Continue reading "When Austria were good at football"


So we managed to sit down with Gordon Strachan and throw a few of your questions his way. He was in jovial mood as he told us that Wesley Sneijder, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Artur Boruc were among his stars of Euro 2008 so far. He also revealed he's a big fan of Nick Hornby's novels.

Continue reading "Strachan answers your questions"


Spain passed a big test by beating the Swedes and booking their passage to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 in the process. After ripping apart Russia in their opening game, Fernando Torres and co were made to work really hard for their second win in Group D.

We always recognised that the Spaniards possessed bags of flair and talent. What we didn't know was if they had the steely resolve that is also needed if you are to win a major tournament. I think we have the answer now.

Continue reading "Spain are the complete package"

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