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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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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"


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On paper - rather an outdated phrase, don't you think?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"


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"


OK, no beating around the bush. I'm tipping Germany, Croatia, Netherlands and Spain to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

Why? Well, the Germans have the experience and mental toughness to win when it matters, the Croatians have oodles of self-belief, no-one can stop the Dutch scoring, while Spain have too much firepower for the stubborn Italians.

Continue reading "My tips for the semi-finals"


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"


Italy's survival instincts served them well as they scrambled into the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 at the expense of a dreadful France team that must now be dismantled.

They have not looked like world champions as they navigated the time-honoured "group of death" to secure a last eight meeting with Spain.

Spain have looked as impressive as anyone in the tournament, but would you bet with confidence against Italy beating a team whose collective nerve has failed under pressure on the big occasion before?

Continue reading "Italy will provide Spain's real test"


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"

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