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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"

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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"


Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. Yesterday I didn't. Abstract art divides opinion like the Fifa ranking system. Still, Vienna is looking to cash in on Euro 2008 by attracting football fans to its numerous museums and galleries.

I've been to a few football-themed exhibitions already - and very good they are, too - but I decided to branch out a little on Wednesday. I don't mind of bit of Rothko - I have one of his prints on my wall at home - so thought I'd go and see some more of his work at the BA-CA Kunstforum. It was a bad move.

Continue reading "From A(rt) to Z(idane)"


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"

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.

Continue reading "French take defeat with good grace"


Quelle surprise, the French are getting paranoid! Their top sports paper, L'Equipe, is full of conspiracy theories that the Dutch will not exactly be busting a gut to beat Romania on Tuesday and that, as a consequence, both France and Italy will be out.

Well, whose fault is that? Frankly, I think the French were fortunate that Romania took such a negative approach when they met each other in Zurich.

Continue reading "Faltering French look their age"

Ilkley, England

The dreaded 335-mile journey from Aberdeen to Ilkley in West Yorkshire was not as torturous I had been expecting.

In fact, the hardest part of the first 100 miles to our overnight stop was the 37-point turn on the drive of our Dutch hosts as we tried to avoid backing over their dog BJ.

Continue reading "Performing the perfect balancing act"

Innsbruck - 961 miles travelled

My first day in Austria felt like I was watching football on top of the world. The Tyrolean city of Innsbruck is, as Sean Connery might say, "shimply shtunning", set as it is in a valley surrounded by snow-topped mountains.

The cool, crisp air and relaxed feel make me think of a city perched high on the Andes, a feeling further underlined by the similarly lunatic antics of my bus driver as we climbed out of the city to the village where I am staying.

Continue reading "Physios, physics and football"


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"

Berne - 708 miles travelled

Having beaten World Cup holders Italy 3-0 and thrashed finalists France 4-1, the Dutch have made a mockery of the so-called Group of Death - and in doing so have clearly outlined their credentials as potential Euro 2008 champions.

The atmosphere inside the Stade de Suisse on Friday evening in Berne was sensational as the magnificent Dutch supporters lapped up another scintillating performance from their team.

Many had questioned the Dutch's prospects of qualifying from a group that contained such seasoned sides as Italy and France.

Continue reading "Holland show the way forward"

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